Betting on Sioux City: Hard Rock Hotel and Casino drawing more and more downtown

It’s been four years since the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino opened its doors in Sioux City. 

In those few short years, the skyline and landscape of downtown businesses have changed. 

Community leaders say the Hard Rock has helped draw people and has made Sioux City a hot spot for entertainment. 

And the business recently appointed a new general manager. 

He’s only been on the job a few short months, but he’s already hoping to make a huge impact on the entire Sioux City community. 

It’s a brand known across the globe. 

But, here in Sioux City it’s changing the entire downtown landscape. 

The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino offers more than just a place to gamble and general manager Jim Franke is glad to help create that experience. 

"I think it’s just to make people feel like that rockstar, to make them feel appreciated. They come in here, they want to relax, they want to have a good time, they want to have a great meal and, it’s putting everything together to make sure that we create those experiences," says Hard Rock Hotel and Casino General Manager Jim Franke. 

Part of creating a good experience for folks visiting the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is making sure they are a good neighbor to surrounding businesses. 

"Well, I think that you could talk to a lot of the downtown businesses and say ‘Hey, what has happened since the Hard Rock has come down to this side, especially, you know, the western side of Sioux City’s downtown. We know it draws visitors in here and those businesses impact all the businesses around us," says Franke. 

Franke says that all the businesses in the surrounding area are all in this together. 

He says he wants to help make things more lively downtown. 

"Matter of fact, we’re continuing to talk on that day after day of how do we create these districts down here that continue to draw in more people here, and not only to the Hard Rock but to all the businesses in the surrounding area. 

Downtown Partners says the Hard Rock brings people to Sioux City and in return, big things have been happening. 

"In the last five years, we’ve seen an increase almost across the board. We’ve had 90% increase in market-rate housing, that means more people are living in downtown and when more people are living in downtown the amenities, the retail, the coffee shops, the restaurants and bars, all of that makes a huge difference living in this community," says Ragen Cote, Executive Director of Downtown Partners. 

It’s been just four years since the Hard Rock opened and it’s already left a lasting impact on downtown. 

But, for Franke, he says he is glad to see all the changes that have happened at his new home. 

"I think the experiences for our guests has improved tremendously year after year with the addition of, number one, our beer truck and the speed of service in which we are able to deliver that experience," says Franke. 

And, the future is bright for not only the Hard Rock but all of downtown. 

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