Jo Casino and Dubuque County Historical Society
Announce Major Port Plan
The Port of Dubuque, already transformed by the multi-million dollar Phase
I of America’s River Project is poised to undergo a second major renovation.
The Diamond Jo Casino in tandem with the Dubuque County Historical Society
made a stunning announcement late September outlining plans for what would
be a major expansion at the port for both organizations.
a press conference co-hosted by Brent Stevens, chief executive
officer of Peninsula Gaming LLC, parent company of the
Diamond Jo, and Jerry Enzler, executive director of the
Historical Society, the partnering organizations presented
plans for a new casino and an expanded National Mississippi
River Museum campus and facilities.
part of the cooperative plan, a new $50 million Diamond
Jo Casino would be constructed along Bell Street, just
north of 3rd Street. Upon completion, the former riverboat
casino would be donated to the Historical Society, along
with use of the Welcome Center and Portside Building, effectively
extending the campus of the River Museum along the Ice
Harbor riverfront. In exchange, the Historical Society
would sell a tract of land to Peninsula for the casino
expansion and parking.
exchange clears the way for Phase II of the America's River
Project including the River Museum’s construction
of an IMAX-style RiverMax Theater and a second museum complex
to be known as the Great Rivers Center. The announced plan
marks a change in previous exploratory efforts by the Historical
Society to expand the River Museum into the former Adams
Company building north of the current museum complex.
RiverMax Theater, planned for construction to the east
of the current museum, would comprise both a 250-seat
theater, showcasing both 3-D and 4-D films, and a retail
outlet. An estimated $8 million project, the new RiverMax
Theater would be the only large-format theater in Dubuque.
Great Rivers Center (the site of the current Welcome Center
and Diamond Jo Portside Building) would feature display
galleries, a National Rivers Center, a Rivers Research
Center and storefront retail.
addition to funding by the Diamond Jo, the Historical Society
will seek funding for the planned expansion from federal
and local grants, private gifts, and a $9 million grant
from Vision Iowa, a major contributor toward the original
America’s River Project.
new 35,000-square-foot Diamond Jo Casino would be similar
to Peninsula’s barge-style casino which opened last
April in Northwood, Iowa. The entertainment complex would
include over a thousand slot machines, 17 table games,
a poker room, a deluxe 36-lane bowling center and three
dining establishments: The Kitchen Buffet, the Farmer's
Feast Cafe and an as-yet-unnamed signature restaurant.
Diamond Jo hopes to begin construction in early 2007, with
the casino opening in early 2008. Museum expansion would
follow, with a possible completion date in 2010.
The casino and museum expansion complement existing Port of Dubuque amenities
including the Grand Harbor Resort and Waterpark, the Grand River Center, and
the Alliant Amphitheater. Projects currently under construction or renovation
include the Old Brewery building complex and the new McGraw-Hill office building.
McGraw-Hill broke ground at the Port this summer and expects to move 700 employees
into the new facility by the end of June, 2007.
Stevens and Enzler pointed to the planned expansions as
positive steps in the continuing development of the Port
of Dubuque. "The Diamond Jo's generosity will help
the Mississippi River Museum and the surrounding community
reach our tremendous potential,” said Enzler, “Our
campus will now stretch along banks of the Mississippi
which, of course, is the most desirable location for us."
Schramm, General Manager of the Diamond Jo Casino echoed
the enthusiasm for the
projects: "This is another great day for Diamond Jo
team members, our neighbors and our community. Now we have
the complete package; hotel, casino, bowling, waterpark
and museum all working together to bring additional visitors
River Phase 2 Overview Slides