Hard Rock files detailed plans for Rideau Carleton revamp

Rideau Carleton

The new operators of the Rideau Carleton Raceway have released more details about their plans to modernize the Albion Road property and bring the number of gaming tables close to the levels featured at Casino Lac Leamy.

Hard Rock Ottawa – a joint venture of Hard Rock International and the Rideau Carleton Raceway – plans to spend $318 million over six years to expand the gambling facility.

On Thursday, Hard Rock said it had filed a rezoning application with the city to permit a hotel, 2,500-seat theatre and 20 additional gaming tables, bringing the allowable total to 55.

The first phase would start this year with a $44-million renovation to the existing casino as well as a redesign of the parking area.

The second phase, scheduled to take place between 2019 and 2023, would include the addition of new restaurants and bars as well as a 150,800-square-foot expansion of the casino and new slot machines and gaming tables that bring the totals to 2,000 and 55, respectively.

Rideau Carleton
A rendering of the expanded Rideau Carleton Raceway.

Construction of a 200-room, eight-floor hotel built atop a 1.5-storey podium would begin by 2024.

Once all phases are completed, the number of people working at the facility is expected to rise to 880, up from the current 400.

A statement from Hard Rock said officials expect to “recapture” much of the roughly $60 million they estimate that Ottawa-area residents and tourists spend each year at Casino Lac Leamy in Gatineau.

Plans for the expansion and Hard Rock-rebranding were first announced last May. The casino operator subsequently secured municipal approval in November to increase the number of gaming tables at the Rideau Carleton Raceway from 21 to 35.

Osgoode Coun. George Darouze, who represents the ward in which the Rideau Carleton Raceway is located, quickly came out in support of the rezoning application.

In a statement Thursday, he said the expanded gaming facility “will create a truly extraordinary attraction in our community.”