SBJ/November 25 - December 1, 2002/Special Report

Mid-America Center, Council Bluffs, Iowa

If any multipurpose sports facility outside Las Vegas truly can be said to have been built on the back of the gaming industry, the new Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, certainly would qualify.

The MAC, as Iowans already are calling it, is part of a convention center/hotel complex designed to lure visitors to the Council Bluffs area — and into the casinos doing business there.

Gaming industry helped build the MAC.
The new home of the United States Hockey League's River City Lancers cost $75 million to build, $67.5 million of which came either directly from gambling-based companies such as Harrah's Casino, organizations established to disburse taxes on gaming, such as Vision Iowa, and associations like the Iowa West Foundation, a nonprofit group funded in part by three area casinos. Southwest Iowa Foundation, which also receives money from the gaming industry, donated land.

The 6,700-seat venue was designed by HNTB with Kansas City-based J.E. Dunn as construction manager. The Lancers have a 10-year lease to play in the facility.


City: Council Bluffs, Iowa

Tenant: USHL River City Lancers

Owner/operator: City of Council Bluffs/SMG

Architect: HNTB

Construction manager: J.E. Dunn Construction

No. of seats: 6,700

No. of suites/club seats: 12/100 (plus two club party rooms)

Projected cost: $75 million

Funding: Vision Iowa, $24 million grant and $7 million interest-free loan; Iowa West Foundation, $24.5 million; Harrah's Casino, $7.5 million; Southwest Iowa Foundation, land worth $4.5 million; city of Council Bluffs, $7.5 million in infrastructure improvements

Concessionaire: Aramark

Scoreboard manufacturers: Everbrite Inc., All American Scoreboards

Videoboard provider: Viacom

Playing surface provider: Commercial Refrigeration (Maple Leaf Gold, for dasherboards and glass)

Seat provider: Irwin Seating

First game: Oct. 18 vs. Lincoln Stars

Click here for a list of Mid-America Center subcontractors.

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