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Churchill Down's Queen of Terre Haute is coming - what will it look like, where will it go, and what will it feature?

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Churchill Down's Queen of Terre Haute is coming - what will it look like, where will it go, and what will it feature?
Churchill Downs casino

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - The idea of bringing a casino to Terre Haute has been in the spotlight for a while now - and during a November 17 meeting, the Indiana Gaming Commission selected Churchill Downs to operate that casino. '

The commission's decision was between Full House Resorts, Hard Rock. Premier Gaming and Churchill Downs.

After the first round of voting, the commission eliminated Hard Rock and Premier. Following a closed-door executive session, the commission selected Churchill Downs.

What does Churchill Downs have planned? What happened to Hard Rock, and how did we get here? Let's break it all down below.

Churchill Downs and Lucy Luck 

First - we need talk about the company the commission selected to operate a casino in the city. That company is Churchill Downs. The company says it plans to invest $240 million in its new "Queen of Terre Haute" facility. Right now, they plan to build on Terre Haute's southside, near Haute City Center.

The Churchill Downs proposal

What do you think about the Churchill Downs plans?

You voted:

The Indiana Gaming Commission awarded Churchill Downs a Certificate of Suitability. That isn't an actual license, but it allows the company to get almost everything done it needs to get done in advance. The reason a full license wasn't issued ties back to Greg Gibson's Lucy Luck gaming.

At the time, the commission said Lucy Luck did not have an executive team in place to run a casino adding the casino operations were not fully funded. Lucy Luck denied those claims and filed an appeal.

Before Churchill Downs can officially receive the license, the situation involving Gibson's Lucy Luck has to be resolved first.

The gaming commission recently met in a virtual session and denied a settlement offer made by Lucy Luck.

Gaming

The company says it will feature 1,000 slot machines, 50 table games. The plans for the Queen of Terre Haute say it has a capacity of 6,600 people. In its estimates - Churchill Downs says they expect 1.3 million people to visit the casino each year.

The design calls for a pathway around the gaming area, with paths that lead to a center point, the Crossroads Sports Bar - more on the bar below. Around the outer pathways will be restaurants, restrooms, and VIP areas.

When it comes to smoking, the plan calls for an "open-air smoking and gaming pavilion." Churchill Downs says they've worked with Terre Haute health advocates and Chances and Services for Youth.

The main building itself will be completely smoke-free.

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Churchill Downs selected as Terre Haute's casino operator - here's what they have planned
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Churchill Downs gaming floor

Leaning into Terre Haute's history

The company leaned into Terre Haute's history with their proposal. For example, it will feature a steak restaurant called "Four Cornered Steakhouse." Terre Haute use to be home to a track called the Four Cornered Track. It was on Brown and Wabash, where ISU's Memorial Stadium currently sits.

Of course, the Four Cornered Steakhouse will, of course, feature steak but also have seafood, wines, and Kentucky bourbon.

The company says the restaurant's design theme will tell reflect the unique story of Terre Haute.

They also plan to build a sportsbook/bar called the Crossroads Sports Bar. This is in reference to Terre Haute's nickname, the Crossroads of America.

For this design, the company says people enter from two diagonal pathways to signify the intersection of US 40 and US 41.

It will feature "oversized" video displays to watch different sporting events, and even show betting odds on those events.

Other restaurants and bars

Along with the Four Cornered Steakhouse, Churchill Downs says the building will feature several other places to grab something to eat or drink.

The facility will feature a rooftop bar and lounge. This sits on top of the hotel tower. This is where people will find a pool and bar. Churchill Downs says people will be able to hang out at the pool during the day, and at nighttime, it turns into more of a high-energy atmosphere.

Churchill Downs says a casual dining restaurant is also included in the plans. Here, you'll be able to find food like whiskey bourbon barrel burgers, Nashville hot chicken, Tex-Mex, and several other options.

Near the hotel's front desk, you'll find a hotel lobby bar. It'll have a stone bar top, a curving ceiling, and accent lights.

If you love a coffee shop, the casino will have one of those too. The plan includes a coffee and sandwich shop. You can grab a coffee, bagels, muffins or other snacks.

Churchill Downs Promotional Video

The Hotel

Want to stay the night? The Queen of Terre Haute will have 125 rooms. The plan is to have standard guest rooms and suites.

The company says each room will have inspiration taken from Terre Haute's history.

The design of the tower is expected to have a "subtle LED glow." Churchill Downs says, "The design features create a unique signature design in the Terre Haute skyline that will be admired from miles around."

We've reached out to the company to find out how tall the tower itself will be; once we hear back, we will update this story.

Wait...by the jail and wastewater treatment plant?

One of the features Churchill downs mentions for its hotel tower is the stunning views - but those views have some scratching their heads.

Which side of town for the casino

Would you rather a new casino be built on Terre Haute's south side or east side?

You voted:

Current plans have construction near Haute City Center. The casino's neighbors would include the wastewater treatment plant and the still in construction Vigo County Jail. There's also a federal prison within walking distance.

Terre Haute Mayor Duke Bennett and Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer both went on record with News 10, saying they'd like to see the site moved near the I-70 and State Road 46 interchange.

"I would most certainly rather have them out east. I understand they all had to find a spot to make it part of their application, but I'm hoping they rethink that," the mayor said.

Churchill Downs' CEO, Bill Carstanjen, says they like the position on Terre Haute's southside, but they remain open to looking at the eastside if it "makes a positive impact on the community."

"We understand the sites out east. They're ever so closer to the western Indianapolis suburbs. We understand why people went with those sites, but we love our site," Carstanjen told us.

"I would encourage them to look moving east," Switzer said. "I think Bill (Carstanjen) talked about that in his presentation. That's possible. We'll see what happens."

We will update this story as developments come in.

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