Friday, March 05, 2010
Views from River City impressive
With over $400 million invested, the new River City Casino in South County raises a lot of curiosity. To find out more about it, I ventured over there this morning for a look.
The location is rare in St. Louis: a true riverfront setting. Just south of the confluence...that is the confluence of the Mississippi River and River Des Peres, you find it: an entertainment oasis equal to or superior to anything of its kind anywhere in the midwest. In fact, as I was walking up to the shiny gold metal and sparkling glass entrance, the man walking next me had driven all the way from Michigan to check out the place.
It was early, so the place was pretty empty. Workers were busy on ladders makinig little fixes. The gaming floor had not yet opened. I only got a little glimpse of one area of the casino. But it was all very nice. If you're into the gaming lifestyle, this place will keep your interest.
For me, it was the outside areas that were the most interesting. The overall site is huge. It's got to be a couple hundred acres. And it sits right next to the Mississippi River. The water is less than 100 feet away. There are relics of historic shipping operations right across the street from the main casino entrances. One of them is an old round house structure that appears to have served as an old freight office. Hopefully these authentic riverfront effects will be preserved for the long term interest of the community.
From outside the casino you have panoramic views of the river on one side and the bluffs on the other. The historic convent adjacent Notre Dame High School is prominent on top of the bluff. Given its size and unique setting, it's amazing that this site was available for this project. I confess to not knowing the history. Perhaps it was once an industrial site with lots of contamination, thus abandoned for years?
Whatever it was before, there's little sign of any of that history today. Now it's a first class casino, situated right alongside the South St. Louis riverfront, offering locals and visitors alike a rare opportunity to get up close and personal to the Mississippi River.