GARY — The new Gary casino will be located immediately adjacent to the Borman Expressway, increasing the odds that at least some of the 180,000 motorists traveling each day on Indiana's busiest highway will stop and try their luck at the land-based facility.
Documents filed by Spectacle Entertainment with the Gary Department of Planning and Zoning request approval to site the new casino on approximately 32 acres of vacant land south of the expressway at the Burr Street exit, between Interstate 80-94 and 29th Avenue.
The plans show a 258,000-square foot casino in the northwest corner of the property that likely would visible from the highway, along with an attached "future hotel" of unspecified size.
The combined facility, tentatively named "Spectacle Entertainment Casino" will offer casino games, sports wagering, lodging, restaurants, meeting space and entertainment venues.
A multi-level parking garage connected to the casino is slated for the southwest corner of the property, abutting 29th Avenue and Calhoun Street, while the rest of the land will be used for access roads, valet parking and a stormwater retention pond, according to the plans.
Records show that Spectacle, the owner of Gary's Majestic Star, acquired the property for an undisclosed sum on Dec. 31, 2018 — four months before state lawmakers authorized the casinos to relocate from Lake Michigan to a land-based site in Gary.
A Spectacle-related entity, known as Windy City Acquisitions, on Feb. 18, 2019, also purchased the adjacent tree-filled square bounded by 29th Avenue and 29th Place, and Topkins Street and Gerry Street, to be used as a construction staging area.
Spectacle's petition seeking zoning approval for the casino site promises "aesthetically pleasing" landscaping and open spaces, as well as neighborhood enhancements due to increased employment opportunities, higher demand for quality housing and additional nearby development.
It also requests an exemption from most of Gary's signage rules in order to attach signs high on the sides of the casino building, as well as permission for a freestanding pylon sign up to 149-feet high.
The Gary Plan Commission is scheduled to consider Spectacle's zoning request July 23.
If approved, the gaming company also will need to win the endorsement of Gary's board of zoning appeals, the city council and the Indiana Gaming Commission to begin the anticipated 18 to 24 months of construction.
Spectacle leaders previously told Hoosier lawmakers they plan to construct a $300 million casino, including a 200-room boutique hotel, that will increase the state's gaming tax revenue collections and create 400 jobs at the new location — growing Majestic's current workforce by one-half to about 1,200.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on whether those plans have changed since the enactment of an Illinois law authorizing new casinos in Chicago and south suburban Cook County that are expected to compete with a new Gary casino.