As customers of the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino continue to enjoy a newly-renovated gaming room featuring popular games such as Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai Gow and Poker, Hard Rock International and the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino moved forward with plans for phases 2 and 3 of its joint venture, ‘Hard Rock Ottawa’; a unique and dynamic entertainment destination planned for the Nation's Capital.
Pending approval of the Zoning By-law Amendment Application filed with the City of Ottawa, Hard Rock Ottawa plans to invest more than $318 million over the course of six years on a multi-phased project which is expected to create close to 4,000 direct and indirect jobs, as well as provide significant economic development in rural Ottawa and beyond. The project is funded entirely by the private sector and is expected to generate $206 million in tax revenue for the Province of Ontario, the Federal Government and the City of Ottawa, after phase 3 – including over $12.8 million in annual revenue for the City of Ottawa, which will double current revenues, once fully operational. Over the first ten years of operations, the expansion and additional gaming tables are expected to generate $43 million in new revenues for the City of Ottawa.
The Zoning By-law Amendment Application seeks permission from the City of Ottawa for only four items related to the expansion:
The addition of a hotel.
An increase to the permitted building height, in order to accommodate a hotel.
The addition of a "theatre" as a permitted use, for 2,500 seat Hard Rock Live venue.
The addition of 20 live gaming tables, which would bring the number of tables that could be phased-in over time to a total of 55.
The project was awarded to Hard Rock International and Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino by the Government of Ontario, through the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) in 2017. The OLG has been working on a modernization plan for the casino operations at the raceway location since 2012, and in 2013, City Council pronounced the Albion Road site as the only acceptable location for an expanded gaming operation in Ottawa. Gaming has taken place at the site since 1962, and slots were installed in 2,000 in order to provide a boost to the harness horse racing industry and the rural economy.
"We are excited to have this opportunity to create a vibrant entertainment destination for not only residents of Ottawa, but for the millions of tourists that visit the Nation's Capital each year," said Jim Allen, chairman of Hard Rock International. "Our commitment is to develop a world-class facility while ensuring the highest standards of customer service and responsible gaming practices."
"Our application for rezoning puts us that much closer to breaking ground on a project that we are confident will re-energize the Ottawa entertainment scene and give our local economy and horse racing industry a significant boost," said Andrew Wright, director of the Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino. "With over 225 venues in 75 countries worldwide, Hard Rock has a proven track record of success; we are thrilled to partner with this exciting organization."
The development of a high-quality gaming and entertainment destination in Ottawa is expected to recapture much of the estimated $60 million that Ottawa-area residents and tourists are spending annually across the river in Quebec on their gaming entertainment.
The modernization at the current site is also an opportunity to create an entertainment-driven destination for the city's changing demographics, with the latest and newest amenities, while at the same time enhancing the horse racing programming and gaming features Ottawa residents have enjoyed for more than 55 years.
At the end of the construction phases, the Hard Rock Ottawa project will see the current Rideau Carleton Raceway Casino facility completely rebranded and redesigned to include: some of the world's greatest music memorabilia; four new restaurants including the Hard Rock Café; The Rock Shop, with collectible fashion and merchandise; and Hard Rock Live performance venue, featuring talents and musicians such as Mary J. Blige, Rod Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld.
As part of its application process with the City of Ottawa, Hard Rock Ottawa will be participating in a formal public consultation, details for which can be found at hardrockottawa.com.
(Hard Rock International)