Proposal submitted to bring Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to Pope County

State News
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POPE COUNTY, Ark. (News release) – Tri-Peaks Entertainment Group, LLC, a partnership between experienced casino operators Warner Gaming and Peninsula Pacific, announced Thursday details of its proposal for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Arkansas, an entertainment, sports and recreation destination to be located just off of Interstate 40 in unincorporated Pope County.

The $230-million Phase I development will offer a wide variety of dining and recreation options, featuring the Bo Jackson Sports Complex, which will offer indoor and outdoor baseball and softball fields, indoor multi-purpose fields for soccer and lacrosse, batting cages and exercise equipment.

“Our concept draws on the internationally-recognized Hard Rock brand, while incorporating outdoor and recreational amenities informed by our discussions with residents of Pope County,” said President and CEO Bill Warner.

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Arkansas will offer the following amenities:

  • State-of-the-art 44,450 square foot casino featuring 1,150 gaming machines, 28 table games, live poker room and sports book complete with mobile betting
  • 300-room first-class hotel with design inspired by the natural beauty of Arkansas
  • 26,000 square feet of indoor space for convention and group events, including 15,000 square feet of traditional convention space, accompanied by park-like outdoor space designed for events 
  • Iconic memorabilia collection on display throughout the resort
  • Live entertainment venues that include: Anthem, an 8,000-person outdoor amphitheater, Hard Rock Live, a 1,000-person indoor/outdoor multi-use entertainment venue and a more intimate setting at the world-renowned Hard Rock Cafe stage for local and regional performers
  • Robust dining options for every taste and budget including: 67 Land and Sea – an approachable upscale steak and seafood restaurant; Smoked House BBQ – an open pit Texas style bar-b-que joint; The Eatery – a modern food hall; and the legendary Hard Rock Cafe serving up America’s favorites around the clock 
  • River Valley RV Resort, featuring 100 luxury RV spaces and upscale RV resort amenities 
  • The Bo Jackson Sports Complex, a multi-purpose facility that offers flexible outdoor youth centric baseball and softball fields and a multi-use air-supported structure that allows training opportunities for turf sport teams (baseball/softball, football, soccer, and lacrosse) as well as to individual athletes, of any sport, who desire to improve athleticism and personal leadership skills. The Bo Jackson Sport Complex will be designed specifically to round out Hard Rock Arkansas’s amenities by the world-famous athlete’s development company partnered with Sport Facility Advisors, whose mission is to improve the health and economic vitality of the communities they serve
  • 1,800 surface parking spaces that are separate from the RV Resort

In creating a project specifically for Pope County, Tri-Peaks Entertainment Group worked with the residents in determining what amenities they wanted for their community. 

“We’ve received a lot of valuable local input from the people of Pope County through our website, social media and from in-person discussions with residents.  Our proposal is informed by what the local community wants to see in a project like this, and that’s the key to a successful partnership.” said Tri-Peaks President and CEO Bill Warner.

At the top of that list was a sports complex. As a result, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Arkansas has partnered with the Bo Jackson Elite Sports to bring a fully integrated sports complex to Pope County. Bo Jackson’s Elite Sports (BJES) is renowned as one of the leading sports training centers in the country.

Plans for the Bo Jackson’s Sports Complex (BJSC) contain 300-foot flexible outdoor fields that can accommodate up to four simultaneous youth league games and tournaments. A temporary fencing system will allow these fields to shorten and accommodate tournaments requiring a 200-foot field for 12 and under baseball and all-levels of softball.  In addition to outdoor fields, the BJSC will feature an air-supported structure that offers over 105,000 square feet of unique indoor training space for athletes, with clear spans and 75′ high ceilings. BJES allows training opportunities for turf sport teams (baseball/softball, football, soccer, and lacrosse) as well as to individual athletes, of any sport, who desire to improve athleticism and personal leadership skills. BJSC will provide additional tourism opportunities to the area by attracting regional and national youth sports tournaments.

Polling on the Hard Rock Arkansas website indicated that an RV park was also high on the community’s wish list.

Accordingly, one of the outdoor amenities will be the River Valley RV Resort, a 100-space luxury RV park. This one-of-a-kind facility will serve as a bridge between the natural beauty, sports and recreation, popular in Pope County, and the resort amenities that Hard Rock Arkansas will bring to the area. RV travelers will have the option to spend their days in nature, then catch a concert at Hard Rock Live; or make an RV weekend out of a popular performer at Anthem Amphitheater. From basic water and electric to premium RV sites with full hookup service, concrete pads and luxury amenities, the River Valley RV resort will impress even the most discerning RV’ers. 

Tri-Peaks Entertainment Group submitted its detailed written proposal to the Arkansas Racing Commission on Thursday, accompanied by an economic impact study conducted by Union Gaming Analytics, an independent investment banking and research firm.   Union Gaming’s study estimates that Hard Rock Arkansas will deliver a total of 1,649 jobs statewide, categorized as follows:

  • 550 direct jobs from the construction project
  • 206 indirect and induced (or “multiplier-effect”) jobs statewide from the construction project
  •  697 direct jobs from operation of the Hard Rock Arkansas and other on-site amenities
  • 196 indirect and induced (or “multiplier-effect”) jobs statewide arising from operations

The Union Gaming study further projects a recurring annual benefit to Pope County of $229.2 million, including $52.4 million in indirect impacts (example: payments to vendors and suppliers) and $16.6 million in induced (or “ripple”) impacts (example: increased purchasing power of employees).

In its proposal, Tri-Peaks Entertainment Group has offered to dedicate 2.0% of annual gaming revenues for the funding of a charitable foundation to be directed by Pope County residents. 

This will provide millions of dollars every year to be spent on causes and projects as selected by the local community.

The Tri-Peaks proposal further offers a variety of other community support measures, such as an Arkansas First buying program; programs to encourage visitation to other businesses in Pope County; and construction of an office for local law enforcement on the premises of Hard Rock Arkansas.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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