RCI eyes Southlands Mall for new restaurant local

By Don Ireland
Senior Reporter
Weekly Register Call

After securing a location at The Grange food hall in Greenwood Village, RCI Hospitality Holdings has also purchased land to construct a new Bombshells military-themed restaurant in the Southlands Mall in Aurora. 

This is on the heels of purchasing two additional locations in Central City that once was the Coyote Creek Casino at 98, and 102 Lawrence St. and the adjoins 101 Eureka St. The private sale closed on Feb. 6 for an undisclosed amount for the vacant casino, which closed more than 15 years ago. The building was sold by Stephen Tebo, who owns several buildings in the downtown gaming section of Central City.

RCI President and CEO Eric Langan said he would like the convert the Coyote Creek building into “a sports-based casino, which has a separate restaurant outside the gaming area for locals with children to have a sit-down meal” in Central City.

Langan predicted the new Central City operation will open in the summer of 2024. “The first steps are to figure out the load-bearing walls so we can open [the space] up more. We also need to get the water main repaired to get the water service back on there. We applied for the gaming license several weeks before closing the sale,” he said.

At the other end of Main Street from the Coyote Creek building, RCI purchased the former Scarlet’s Casino property from Central City in November. The empty building sold for $2.4 million.

Langan said he expects the Scarlet’s building, at 130 Main St., to open more than a year before the trio of buildings on Lawrence-Eureka. “We are hoping for a December 2023 [opening], but the Colorado Gaming Commission will really control that. Our plan is to start with roof and HVAC repairs by April 1. We’re waiting for the engineers to design the new system. We plan to have the location open by Nov. 1, provided we receive temporary approvals by June 1,” he commented.

He noted that RCI has applied for Colorado gaming licenses. “We have applied at both locations and are told [it will take] approximately one year from filing to approval,” Langan said. “That’s all in the state’s hands at this time.”

If RCI’s plans develop according to Langan’s strategy, the two new casinos will improve Central City’s finances through gaming-device fees, sales taxes, property taxes and other charges, including purchasing water from the city’s municipal-operated water utility. The new casinos could help attract more patrons to Central City, which has six operating casinos. While a few existing casinos have remodeled or rebranded their operations, Central City hasn’t seen a new casino open in more than a dozen years.

Langan previously said he would like to bring a younger demographic to the casinos, resulting in a busier Central City Main Street gaming district at night.