A proposal to build a hotel-casino entertainment complex at the Des Moines International Airport is likely dead after its governing body today decided not to direct the airport manager to begin discussions with the developer on a lease agreement.

Reggie Sinha, an independent airport consultant, had proposed developing a $225 million entertainment complex at the airport that would provide a percentage of the estimated $85 million in annual revenue from the hotel and casino earnings to the airport. The money, he told the commission, could help close a funding gap for the proposed airport improvement plan.

Members of the Des Moines Airport Authority Board, however, were skeptical that a casino could garner support from all the necessary governing bodies, including the Des Moines City Council, Polk County Supervisors and Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. In addition, a referendum would need to be held to get approval from Polk County voters.

“I don’t feel we have a sufficiently robust proposal leading to success at this point,” said board member Mark Feldmann. “A truly robust proposal would come to us with the support of the city of Des Moines and Polk County.”

Sinha, after the meeting, said it is unlikely that he would discuss the proposal with city or county officials. “I don’t think it is my duty to do that,” he said. 

Sinha has said he was working with Wild Rose Entertainment on the proposed development.

“If they are not interested in [pursuing the proposal], then it is dead,” he said. “I don’t have the resources to move forward.”

Sinha said it wasn’t financially feasible to develop just a hotel. “Just building a hotel will be woefully inadequate,” he said.

Read our Insider story on the proposed hotel-casino project here