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The Diamond Jo Casino

Diamond Jo Construction Update (Thursday November 29, 2007)
With an official groundbreaking ceremony held just a few weeks ago, and work having begun on the former massive parking lot on Bell Street a few months back, it's clear that the next iteration of the Diamond Jo Casino is well underway. As part of our ongoing coverage of the America's River Project: Phase II, we at 365 decided to check in on Todd Moyer, general manager of the Diamond Jo, for an update on the casino's construction and an idea of what will be happening in the coming months.

"The project is currently on-schedule," reports Moyer. "We've completed the piers and the grade beams, which completes the work on the foundation. We're about 80 percent done on the site utilities, the water and the storm sewer, and work on that will continue through the winter."

Modern Piping, the mechanical company contracted for the project, has started its work for food and beverage service and has begun installing the gas system in the building, which is rather important, given that the new Diamond Jo will feature some superb dining opportunities.

You may have noticed the piping sticking up in the building footprint at the moment. According to Moyer, that's from the underground food and beverage piping and the underground raceways. Conlon Construction has poured retaining walls, which means that structural steel is next ... and that's on schedule for beginning this week, along with the first floor slab pour. Onlookers will begin to see some real visible progress as December begins, and exterior wall work begins.

"We've completed all of our interior designs, as well," says Moyer. "And we have some spectacular surprises that we plan to be announcing shortly." And no matter how much 365 begged, pleaded and offered bribes, Moyer was resolute: Whatever these surprises are, they're sure to kick ass.

Moyer also pointed out that the Diamond Jo has continued to work with the Clean Air Conservancy. The CAC was founded in 1992 as an environmental non-profit agency, establishing legal framework for the donation and retirement of marketable environmental permits, allowances and offsets, working to reduce harmful gas footprints by structures.

"We are rigorously tracking fuel usage," says Moyer. "And we are taking steps to mitigate our carbon footprint, which will in turn mitigate subsequent environmental impact. When our construction phase is complete, the goal is to be certified NETZERO by the Clean Air Conservancy. The NETZERO program helps businesses track their daily greenhouse gas emissions, and then the CAC retires the equivalent amount in carbon dioxide emission credits."

The Diamond Jo has also been actively working with Mayor Roy Buol and City staff to find parks for the planting of trees, in the effort to absorb future carbon dioxide emissions. All of this is part of the Diamond Jo's ongoing campaign to minimize the environmental impact of its construction, and it's great to see such "green"-oriented construction in the Port of Dubuque.

"You know, we can all make a difference," says Moyer. "We're just following the three basic principles: Reduce, reuse and recycle."

Make sure to stay tuned to future pages of 365ink for more information on the ongoing construction at the Diamond Jo Casino ... and hopefully, maybe, possibly, they might let us know what their surprises are! Everyone loves surprises..


City of Dubuque and Diamond Jo Groundbreaking Celebration
Kicks Off America's River Phase II

Click here for photos from the groundbreaking event.

Dubuque, Iowa -- The City of Dubuque and the Diamond Jo Casino broke ground today on the Diamond Jo's new casino and entertainment complex and the City's parking facility. Representing more than $100 million in new construction, the new casino and parking facility are the first two projects of America's River Project, Phase II. The new casino, state-of- the-art bowling center, dining and entertainment facility and phase one of the parking facility will be complete in fall 2008.

"The City is proud to be a part of the continued redevelopment of Dubuque's riverfront," said Dubuque Mayor Roy D. Buol. "The Diamond Jo expansion and the new public parking facility are great examples of the partnerships that are making Dubuque a better place to live, work, and play. These two projects compliment each other and are sure to spur additional development in the Port and beyond."

About 200 community leaders, Diamond Jo Team Members and invited guestsparticipated in possibly the largest groundbreaking event ever hosted in Dubuque. "The people in this community lead us to begin our journey here. We are proud to now return the support and appreciations we have received form this community by making a significant reinvestment in Dubuque. On what we believe will enhance this area as not only one of the best places to visit in the country but the best place to live and raise a family as well." Brent Stevens, C.E.O. Peninsula Gaming said, "So to our customers, team members and the entire tri-state community. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you."

Vision Iowa Board Chairperson Andrew Anderson and Dubuque County Historical Society Board President Jeff Bertsch were also on hand for the celebration. The America's River Phase II grant application was recently approved by the Vision Iowa Board and awarded $8 million to the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium's portion of Phase II.In September 2006, Peninsula Gaming officials announced that the Diamond Jo would begin a major expansion, during which it would become a land-based casino. The $75 million project, set to open in the fall of 2008, will include 1,000 slot machines, 17 table games, and a poker room in a new 35,000 square-foot casino. Also included in the project are a 36-lane bowling and entertainment center, three restaurants and retail stores.

The Port of Dubuque Public Parking Facility is a City-owned, four-story parking structure which has been designed to accommodate 1,130 vehicles, meeting the anticipated parking needs of both the new Diamond Jo Casino and the neighboring Portside Mixed-Use Development Project and other activities at the Port of Dubuque.

The casino's expanded operation and the City of Dubuque's parking facility are part of the "America's River Project: Phase II", which will also involve a major expansion of the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. The museum will take over the Diamond Jo's existing Portside Building, as well as the riverboat.




An earlier rendering of the casino project...


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