The City Council of Aurora could vote next week on a redevelopment agreement between the Hollywood Casino and the city. Under the provisions of the deal, the downtown casino would be moved onto the northeast side of Aurora.
Furthermore, a Penn Entertainment investment of at least $300 million into a new casino resort set to be established on Farnsworth Avenue’s west side and another one from the city, worth almost $60 million in bonds, would be included in the deal.
Penn Entertainment is set to establish a casino featuring a total of 950 gaming positions, as well as a Barstool Sportsbook. The company is also set to build a 200-room hotel, also featuring meeting rooms, six restaurants, and an external event area. An event center occupying a 10,000-square-foot space will also be built. The project was confirmed by the executive vice president of operations for Penn Entertainment, Todd George, who described the project as years of work aimed at creating “a casino of the future”.
This week, all 12 Aurora City Council members took the plan into consideration for the first time together, at a meeting of a Committee of the Whole. They decided to move the proposed deal between the city and the Hollywood Casino to the regular City Council meeting scheduled next week.
Penn Entertainment Would Be Able to Exercise Two Options on the Land under New Agreement
Under the proposed agreement, the city of Aurora would transfer three parcels of land along Farnsworth Avenue. Once, the parcels contained a car dealership and two hotels, but the city eventually tore them down.
The provisions of the deal will also see the city of Aurora allow Penn Entertainment to exercise two options regarding the land on which the C-Club and Gaslight Manor are currently operating. The city is set to pass a general obligation bond worth $58 million to add to the project’s overall budget, with the money set to be paid by a 23-year tax increment financing district.
Apart from establishing the new casino, Penn Entertainment would agree to take care of the demolition of the existing casino building in downtown Aurora. It will also have to transfer the pad the casino was built on. Any potential leases on the two casino parking lots downtown will also be relinquished by the company.
As revealed by Aurora city officials, the current empty lots close to Farnsworth generate property taxes of approximately $150,000 annually but this amount could increase to about $5 million when the casino venue is built. They further revealed that the property could be used to pay the bonds’ debt service incurred by the city, especially with a tax increment financing district there.
Under the provisions of the agreement, if the tax increment financing district does not manage to provide the money expected for bond service, Hollywood Casino would have to compensate for the difference by paying for the repayment of the bonds.