Inner Circle Investments LLC is a company based in Missouri that owns fourteen hotels nationwide, including one in the St. Joseph area of the state. The Radisson is located in St. Joseph and the company would now like to build a casino in a parking lot located north of the hotel. The group would then move the St. Jo Frontier Casino to the new location. The plans would also include creating a new expo center.
Affinity Gaming is the company behind Frontier and they have been contacted by St. Joseph officials many times in efforts to see the casino moved to Downtown. Planning and Community Development Director Clint Thompson commented that Affinity Gaming was reluctant to move without an incentive. Thompson feels that Inner Circle will be able to provide more incentive to Affinity than the company would be able to.
According to the Inner Circle Board of Directors member Mark Hall, the casino move would be good for the Affinity Gaming company as a way to reduce expense as well as revenue generation. Overall, it would be better to move Downtown. Hall attended a work session yesterday with the St. Joseph City Council to try and gain support on the matter.
The majority of the council members seemed to be in favor of the project, discussing a memorandum of understanding with Inner Circle that would show support from the city on the project as well as outlining the preliminary terms of an agreement. The memorandum will officially be voted upon on the 19th of December when the council meets again.
According to Thompson, the memorandum is not a legally binding contract but will be helpful in moving the process along. This move will give the new owner support from St. Joseph to move forward with their efforts for the developer to spend their own money on the project. Inner Circle will use their money to prepare an early design for the venue with Hunden Strategic Partners.
Inner Circle is still discussing the project with Affinity Gaming and if the Frontier Casino does not move, the project may still move forward for a casino to be placed in the downtown area.