Vigo County, Indiana

Churchill Downs applies to rezone land for Terre Haute casino, moves project to east side

Rendering for the Queen of Terre Haute casino resort.
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Churchill Downs filed on Monday an application to rezone land for a Vigo County casino on Terre Haute. The new chosen spot is on the east side of the city: the location is on the north side of East Margaret Drive, just west of State Road 46. 

The application was filed with the Vigo County Area Planning Department and seeks to rezone agricultural land to a C-3 Regional Commerce District in order to begin the development process for the Queen of Terre Haute Casino Resort. CDI’s proposed location for the development is subject to approval from the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Two parcels -one is 23.52 acres and the second is 25.48 acres-, located side by side, would be rezoned under Churchill Downs’ plan. County property records retrieved by Tribune-Star show they are listed under Ronald R. Selvia Trustee of Ray E. Selvia Family Trust; and Timothy Rockwood and Jonnie Haldt Jr.

“For months, people from across West Central Indiana encouraged us to build the Queen of Terre Haute on the east side of town,” said Jason Sauer, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development for CDI. “We listened, and today we’re excited to start down the path to groundbreaking on a nearly 50-acre site that’s easily accessible from I-70 and State Road 46.”

Sauer further stated that, “with continued oversight from the Indian Gaming Commission,” the company looks forward to taking the final steps in order to make the project a reality. CDI claims to be prepared “to deliver a true destination casino resort” to Vigo County.

"It has a 205,000-square foot proposed hotel and casino with approximately 1,600 parking spaces," Jared Bayler, executive director of the Vigo County Area Planning Department, said of the rezoning request according to the cited news source.

While the main access to the site is located off of East Margaret Drive, west of the Clabber Girl Distribution Center and FedEx, additional entrances are being proposed off of an expanded New Margaret Drive, which is off of an existing round-about behind Wal-Mart’s east side store.

The approximately 400,000-square-foot development is estimated to usher a $190 million annual economic impact, and will lead to the creation of 1000 construction jobs, plus 500 permanent positions, according to the operator. CDI also expects to have a revenue of $638.9 million in the first five years of operation.

Churchill Downs, which was granted the license for the Terre Haute casino by the Indiana Gaming Commission in Novemver 2021, had previously submitted a plan to build on land west of the Haute City Center, off of U.S. 41.

In addition to the Queen of Terre Haute Casino, the development is set to include a 10-story luxury hotel and the area’s first rooftop pool and bar. According to Bayler, the new site includes three locations for possible expansion in the future.

The next step for CDI is to seek the rezoning before the Vigo County Plan Commission, in a meeting set for March 2. The operator will also go before the Terre Haute Board of Zoning Appeals on the same date, seeking a variance to allow a 125-foot-tall building.

The relocation was backed by a number of parties, including Mayor Duke Bennett and Vigo County Commissioner Chris Switzer. CDI says the project will remain unchanged, with the exception of the additional property allowing for future expansion. There is no official word yet on groundbreaking for the Queen of Terre Haute.