Casino, City Welcome Addition Of New $8.2M Hotel
By Mike Perleberg
(Rising Sun, Ind.) – City leaders and casino executives in Rising Sun are optimistic that a new hotel will help the riverboat remain competitive for gaming dollars.
Rising Star Casino Resort General Manager Steve Jimenez told a crowd at the Wednesday ribbon cutting for the North Star Tower hotel that the 104 new rooms will help accommodate overnight guest demand on the weekends.
“We now offer over 294 deluxe rooms and suites which will provide a greater opportunity to enhance tourism to the Rising Sun community while also serving increased demand for overnight groups, golfers, and gaming customers,” Jimenez said.
Jimenez said the casino has been committed to improving the property, the new hotel being just the latest example.
Andre Hilliou, President and CEO of Rising Star Casino parent company Full House Resorts spread thanks to the city and others who made the project possible. He described the hotel as a magnificent building which will help the casino reinvent itself as regional competition increases.
“We are changing direction by going from a casino resort to a full-venue resort entertainment center,” Hilliou said. “Hotels, restaurants, bars, golf, showroom, live entertainment, and, of course, gaming.”
The $8.2 million North Star Tower was built and is currently owned by non-profits Rising Sun Ohio County First and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation. For now, it is being leased and managed by Rising Star Casino for $83,000 monthly. Rising Sun Mayor Branden Roeder said the riverboat could choose to purchase the hotel in the next few years.
“The contract is for 10 years. They want to buy it out in two to three years and we’ll sign it over once it’s paid off gladly,” Roeder said, adding that if the lease agreement goes the full 10 years it will mean an extra $1.5 million in the coffers of the Rising Sun Regional Foundation.
The hotel was more than three years in to making. Roeder said the city, Rising Sun Ohio County First, the regional foundation, and casino all worked together to make it happen.
“It’s going to be a great economic development tool for the city and the casino, because we live with the money that they make,” Roeder said. “(Rising Star) is the heartbeat (of the city) right now. Most of our money that funds our special events and employees comes from riverboat gaming money.”
Roeder said Rising Sun Ohio County First currently has no other projects in the pipeline.