Hard Rock International opened this week an information office in downtown Rockford, Illinois to further its bid to build a casino resort in the city.
The informational center opened doors on Wednesday at 308 W. State Street. The opening was attended by Cheap Trick guitarist and Rockford native Rick Nielsen. To celebrate the launch of the center, Hard Rock gave out T-shirt and other branded merch to guests.
Last month, the Florida-headquartered gaming and hospitality giant announced plans to build a hotel and casino resort at the site of Rockford’s former Clock Tower Resort on East State Street near Interstate 90. Hard Rock then said that the site and its proximity to I-90 would help drive traffic to its prospective casino complex.
Aside from a casino with both table game and slot machine positions, the proposed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Rockford would also feature a hotel as well as live music and entertainment facilities, dining outlets, and retail space, among other amenities.
Hard Rock CEO Jim Allen said last month that Rockford is a strong location for a casino due to its “history as the center point of entertainment.”
The establishment of a casino in Rockford is possible under a gambling expansion package that Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed recently to pave the way for the addition of up to six new casinos across the state, including Rockford and Chicago.
Hard Rock Promises Multiple New Jobs
Hard Rock said last month that if its casino proposal is approved by state gaming regulators, construction of the resort would create nearly 1,000 new jobs for local contractors. Once operational, the property would generate up to 1,200 permanent job positions.
Phase One of the resort is expected to be completed within 12 to 14 months, Mr. Allen further pointed out last month at an even announcing their plan.
At present, Hard Rock operates venues in 74 countries, including 186 Hard Rock Cafes, 241 Rock Shops, 29 hotels, and 12 casinos.
July saw another potential bidder for the Rockford casino license come forward last month. Developer Gorman & Company Inc. revealed plans to build a casino in downtown Rockford where it is currently developing Embassy Suites Hotel and Rockford Conference Center.
The developer’s Chairman, Gary Gorman, said that their plan involves developing a casino and an entertainment complex that will be linked to the hotel portion of their other property in the heart of Rockford via pedestrian walkways. According to Mr. Gorman, “casinos are most successful when part of an integrated entertainment, restaurant, and activity district, creating a critical mass.”
Interested casino developers previously had up until today to submit their proposals with the City of Rockford. Earlier this month, city officials extended the deadline to August 30, giving parties enough time to prepare and submit their applications.
Once the request for proposals process closes at the end of this month, Rockford’s evaluation team will review the applications and submit its recommendations to the City Council by September 16.
A public hearing is set for September 23 and city officials will be expected to certify the received proposals by the end of September and to file them with the Illinois Gaming Board by October 25. The state’s gambling regulator will have the final say in selecting the preferred Rockford casino license bidder.
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