Casino might have hotel as well

on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

Penn National is moving ahead with plans to construct a hotel on the grounds of its $400 million Hollywood Casino by asking Columbus for the proper zoning for the building.

The hotel would be no taller than 375 feet — or 25 to 30 stories — and contained within the 200 block of Georgesville Road and W. Broad Street on the West Side.

The casino is to open in October, Penn spokesman Bob Tenenbaum said

“The hotel is something still in consideration and is in phase two of the development of that area,” he said. The second phase probably will begin sometime after the casino opens, he said.

Although Tenenbaum would not express Penn’s total commitment to a hotel, Boyce Safford, the city’s director of economic development, said it’s his understanding that Penn plans to build one.

The casino group’s request for the zoning change also would signal its intent.

The City Council, which introduced the legislation at last night’s meeting, is expected to formally approve the change for the 116-acre site from rural to limited commercial district at its meeting on Monday.

It’s unclear what kind of hotel would be built, but officials of the tourism bureau Experience Columbus have said the preference is to have an entertainment-themed complex catering to those enjoying the casino. It would not be a convention-style facility with numerous meeting rooms.

As for the casino’s opening, Tenenbaum said Penn still must get approval for its gambling license from the state’s Casino Control Commission. He said Penn probably will apply for approval in late summer. “By then, we will have a better idea of when we will open — if it will be early October or late October,” he said.

Penn, which also operates the casino in Toledo that opened last month, has begun hiring about 2,000 employees for the Columbus casino, which will be larger than Toledo’s $320 million complex

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The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday June 19, 2012 5:44 AM