Business

$225 million casino project proposed for Des Moines airport

Development would help pay for planned terminal

Rendering of the proposed Cedar Crossing Casino for Cedar Rapids. (Courtesy Cedar Crossing)
Rendering of the proposed Cedar Crossing Casino for Cedar Rapids. (Courtesy Cedar Crossing)

DES MOINES — A development group that wants to build a $225 million casino and hotel at the Des Moines airport said the project would help pay for a planned new terminal.

Highview Development Group, which includes Wild Rose Entertainment, presented the plan to the Des Moines Airport Authority board on Tuesday.

The complex would include a 350-room hotel connected to the airport by a skywalk. There also would be a fountain, rock garden, restaurant and wedding and banquet facilities.

The airport board tabled discussion of the proposal until its February meeting.

Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Altoona has been the lone legal gambling house in metropolitan Des Moines since it opened as a horse track in 1989. It added slot machines in 1995 and table gambling in 2004.

The new, 18-gate terminal is planned for an opening in 2028.

Officials have been seeking $194 million from various sources to cover the $500 million project.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission twice rejected investors’ proposals for a casino in Cedar Rapids — in 2014 and 2017 — citing a “saturated market” and potential “cannibalization” of income for other casinos in the state.

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