$705M Hard Rock Resort Proposal Wins Kansas City Competition

Kansas Entertainment L.L.C., a joint venture involving Kansas Speedway and The Cordish Co., has won a coveted casino management contract by the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board for the development of a casino resort in Wyandotte County, Kans. The joint venture, which competed with a handful of teams for

Kansas Entertainment L.L.C., a joint venture involving Kansas Speedway and The Cordish Co., has won a coveted casino management contract by the Kansas Lottery Gaming Facility Review Board for the development of a casino resort in Wyandotte County, Kans. The joint venture, which competed with a handful of teams for the right to develop a gaming property in the county, plans to erect an upscale 1.5 million-square-foot Hard Rock Hotel & Casino property that will cost an estimated $705 million to build. With a designated site off 1-70 and I-435 about 15 minutes from downtown Kansas City, the gaming and entertainment facility will sit in Turn 2 of the Kansas Speedway track, which is owned by International Speedway Corp., the parent company of joint venture partner Kansas Speedway. The behemoth development will encompass a 300-room Hard Rock hotel, a 125,000-square-foot casino, 275,000 square feet of retail space that will include a 2,000-seat live music venue, as well as 117,000 square feet of meeting and convention facilities. Additionally, as part of the proposal, the team is petitioning NASCAR to bring a second Sprint Cup Series date to the track. Kansas Entertainment faced steep competition for the management contract. Golden Gaming, Mohegan Resorts and Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. also submitted proposals for a casino resort in Wyandotte County. Las Vegas Sands Corp. also vied for the contract, but withdrew its $750 million proposal in July, citing an adverse lending market and potentially challenging competition from neighboring Missouri’s gaming industry. Kansas Entertainment will finance the Hard Rock endeavor by contributing an estimated 20 to 40 percent in equity, and will rely on non-recourse secured debt to cover remaining costs. Financing specifics will be decided based on market conditions. Officials anticipate the development will yield an annual sum of approximately $620 million in economic benefits for the area. If all goes as planned, the joint venture will open a first-phase gaming facility at the speedway next year. Based in Kansas City, Kansas Speedway is a wholly owned division of motorsports promoter International Speedway Corp., which owns and/or operates 13 top motorsports entertainment destinations. Baltimore-based Cordish is a multi-billion real state development company with divisions focusing on entertainment and mixed-use developments; gaming and lodging projects; sports-anchored districts; shopping and lifestyle retail properties; and office and residential developments. International Speedway and Cordish have partnered in the past; the two are developing Daytona Live!, a nearly $440 million upscale retail, office and entertainment project in Daytona Beach, Fla.