Proposed casino backers sponsoring Bret Michaels concert in Cedar Rapids

Published: Aug. 17, 2017 at 9:30 PM CDT
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Former lead singer for Poison, Bret Michaels, is coming to Cedar Rapids September 15 for a concert at the U.S. Cellular Center. Backers of a proposed casino are sponsoring the concert just days before state gambling regulators hold a public hearing in Cedar Rapids on three casino proposals.

According to a news release, Peninsula Pacific Partnership and Cedar Crossing Development Group are putting on the event to show what it would be like to have an urban casino in Cedar Rapids.

"We want to provide the Cedar Rapids community with a low-priced option for quality entertainment and to showcase a preview of the shows Cedar Crossing can bring to the city," Brent Stevens, the head of Peninsula Pacific, said in a statement. "Our proposal is much more than a casino. We want to anchor economic development in downtown and make Cedar Rapids an entertainment destination that a wide variety of acts will put on their tour schedules."

Cedar Crossing investors said the U.S. Cellular Center hosted 58 acts last year, while Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in the smaller Sioux City market has booked 455 acts in the past two and a half years. Peninsula Pacific co-owns the Hard Rock in Sioux City.

The event will begin with a free community cocktail hour at 6 p.m. Investors will make a presentation and offer comments on the proposed casino.

Michaels' concert will begin at 8 p.m. Tickets will cost $20 and be available through Ticketmaster or the U.S. Cellular Center box office starting Saturday, August 19.

The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission will meet September 26 at the Cedar Rapids Convention Center to hear public comments about three applications for a gambling license in Cedar Rapids. The Commission is not expected to make a decision on granting a license until November.

Cedar Crossing investors have proposed two versions of a casino, one on the west bank of the Cedar River downtown, and the other a skydeck connected to the DoubleTree Hotel and arena on one side and a new parking ramp, built by the city, on the other.

Wild Rose Entertainment has also proposed a "boutique casino," on the skywalk level of a new building next to the Skogman building on First Avenue East.

The gambling commission in 2014 rejected a plan for a casino next to the river by a 4 to 1 vote. The commission said the market was over-saturated.