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CR Council Buys Back Casino Land

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Without City Council or public comment, the council this week agreed to buy four parcels of land that the local group of casino investors hustled to buy in the summer of 2013 so they could complete plans for their Cedar Crossing Casino.

In April of this year, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission denied a state gaming license to the investor group, saying, in part, that a Cedar Rapids casino would damage business at the nearby Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.

The casino investors led by Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Gray paid $2.05 million for four parcels of property, and the City Council now has agreed to buy it for $415,000 or 20 percent of the casino investors’ cost. The city also will pay demolition costs.

Mayor Ron Corbett said last week that the city wanted to buy the four parcels from the casino investors, Cedar Rapids Development Group LLC, so the city controlled all the contiguous parcels in the eight-plus acres that comprise the proposed casino site directly across the Cedar River from downtown.

The city already had owned most the site having obtained the property through the federally funded, flood-recovery buyout program.

Corbett said the city will approach the Iowa Legislature about the city’s continued interest in bringing a casino to the riverfront site. But this week’s property purchase puts the city in a position to market the entire casino site for another development if a casino does not come to be, he said.

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