Miami Valley Gaming to undergo $100M expansion, add 11-story hotel

The Cincinnati Zoo is also expanding nearby

If plans are approved for a new 11-story hotel at Miami Valley Gaming racino, it will be the tallest building in Warren County.

Plans for the hotel, the centerpiece of a $100 million project proposed by the racino operators, and plans for Cincinnati Zoo outdoor education center will considered Tuesday by Warren County Commission.

Turtlecreek Twp. Trustee Jon Sams said the township was equipped to handle emergencies in an 11-story building.

“Nobody has an 11-story ladder or tower truck,” Sams said. “We have good equipment. We are consistently working on equipment and training personnel.”

The building height is not expected to interfere with project approval under special development standards established for the racino.

“Elevations on buildings are limited to 60 feet within 100 feet of the property line. All buildings are located over 600 feet from all property lines and therefore there are no height restrictions for the proposed 160-foot hotel under the approved PUD. Turtlecreek Township Fire Department has reviewed the plans and did not express any height-related fire safety concerns,” according to a staff report to the Warren County Regional Planning Commission.

Building officials said the tallest building in Warren County is the eight-story Drury Inn in Mason.

In addition to the 194-room, 160,000 square-foot hotel, a 12,000 square-foot gaming expansion, 7,500 square-foot restaurant expansion and 1,000 space parking garage are proposed on the 120-acre racino site the northeast corner of Union Road and Ohio 63.

Woolpert is engineering the development.

Sams acknowledged the development would “place an additional burden” on the township emergency services, already responding to fires and other rescues at two state prisons and the Otterbein Lebanon retirement campus. He emphasized the need for an “economic package” covering the additional expense for township services.

RELATED: Miami Valley Gaming to spend $100M on expansion

“It wll hopefully drive more economic development in that corridor,” Sams added, reducing the tax burden on homeowners.

About four miles away, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden has proposed to add an outdoor education center, supervised camping area, trail system and solar array to facilities on more than 650 acres, west of Mason.

Both projects are near Union Road, the Premium Outlets Mall and other development between Union Road and I-75. Sams indicated the section of Union south of Ohio 63 would be abandoned and traffic rerouted, probably through the industrial park across the state route.

It was unclear who would present the racino project to the commissioners. Greg Orosz, the county planner who prepared the report on the racino expansion, has moved to the city planner job in Lebanon, according to his county email.

The zoo is submitting the plans for the projects off Mason-Montgomery Road and as “a low-impact use,” due to the lack of traffic and hard surfaces to result from the development.

A 5k-length trail and lake are planned on the zoo property, Sams said.

Zoo officials did not respond to a request for additional information.

Last summer, the zoo moved forward with plans for a cheetah run and other facilities on the land it owns east of I-75, west of Mason and south of Ohio 63.

The zoo also has a 24-acre wetlands, beekeeping, greenhouse and organic farm fields and facilities, on the donated land.

RELATED: Cheetah run coming to Warren County

In November, the $100-million expansion of the racino was announced.

It would be the second expansion project since the racino opened in 2013, according to a press release.

Approval is contingent on the Warren County Health District and Soil and Water Conservation District approving an animal waste containment/disposal plan. Live harness racing is also held at the racino track.

The project approval is also subject to 12 other conditions proposed by the Warren County Regional Planning commission, including confirmation that Butler County can provide sewer service to the racino complex.

Also nearby is the 1,400-acre Union Village planned community-Otterbein Lebanon retirement complex.

Otterbein is continuing to expand its 200-acre retirement campus on the west side of Ohio 741. Across the state route, the Warren County Sports Park at Union Village and first phase of Union Village are expected to open in the coming year.

Warren County has applied for federal funding for a $25 million widening of about 2 1/2 miles of Ohio 63 between the racino entrance off Ohio 63 and Ohio 741.

RELATED: Road near Warren County racino would be widened to Ohi 741 for $25M

The road project is also sought in anticipation of development of 766 acres of state land to be sold around the Warren and Lebanon correctional institutions on Ohio 63.

“The project is improvement to an overloaded, safety-compromised highway facility in a high-growth corridor with confirmed plans for major economic development and investment in both rural and urbanized parts of Warren County,” according to the federal grant application description.

Did you know?

* Ohio’s racino slot revenue topped $1 billion for the first time in fiscal year 2019.

* In 2018, Miami Valley Gaming had the third highest total payouts of all Ohio racinos. The net win for the fiscal year was recorded as $171.56 million. That’s up from $151.56 million in fiscal 2018 and $143,77 million in fiscal 2017.

* Revenue from the state’s racinos is nearly double the revenue from the state’s four casinos in Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati.

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