Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen
Correspondent 

City gets racino update

About 400 jobs expected from the business.

 


Tucumcari is entering the competition for the state’s sixth racetrack-casino license fully prepared to be a serious contender, Warren Frost, a principal of Coronado Partners LLC, told the Tucumcari City Commission Thursday.

Frost said Coronado Partners has even found another car dealer to replace the late Don Chalmers, an Albuquerque auto dealer, to front much of the initial capital to construct a $75-million horse-racing and casino gambling complex in Tucumcari.

Chalmers died of cancer in 2015.

As currently proposed, Frost said, the racino will include a one-mile horse racing track, 750 slot machines and could employ as many as 400 people in full- or part-time jobs.

The new backer and managing partner of Coronado Partners is Thomas Krumland, who owns and operates five new-car dealerships in Roswell, and it’s a coincidence that he, like the late Don Chalmers, the former managing partner, is a car dealer, Frost said.

Krumland, Frost said, “is the Don Chalmers of Roswell.”

Like Chalmers, Krumland is active in his community and donates generously to local causes and charities, Frost said.

“This summer marks the 10th anniversary of a year that will live in infamy,” he said, “the 10th year after our submitting of an application for a racino and not getting it.”

Since then, court cases have been settled in the wake of the Raton racino’s failure, and there has been additional delay in authorizing the sixth license, due to state government complications, Frost said.

He is now confident Tucumcari will submit the most competitive offer to the New Mexico Racing Commission, which will make the final decision.

Coronado Partners now has options on two properties, he said, including originally proposed site, a 330-acre parcel on Tucumcari’s east side near the former Kmart on Historic Route 66.

The other property is located near Interstate 40 and Mountain Road, he said.

Chris Erickson, a New Mexico State University economist, said in an email Friday he has just begun an update of the economic impact study he conducted to accompany Tucumcari’s 2011 application for the license when competition briefly opened again.

Frost said Coronado Partners is facing a July 30 deadline to submit its application materials.

Krumland said he is supporting the racino because, as he said in a news release from Coronado Partners, “I am enthusiastic about bringing much-needed economic development to Tucumcari and Quay County.”

He added, “It seems that Quay County has been left behind while other communities in Eastern New Mexico have thrived. In intend to cure that problem by bringing a racetrack to Tucumcari.”

Aside from economic justice, however, Krumland said Friday the Tucumcari racino has “great potential” as a business opportunity.

“It’s the closest thing to a sports team New Mexico has to offer,” he said.

He sees revenue potential, he said, in offsite betting opportunities on sports events.

Frost and Krumland said the main market for the racino is likely to be visitors from north Texas, especially the Amarillo.

Frost said Raton was a poor choice because Colorado now has many casinos.

Krumland said Tucumcari also has its location on I-40 “one of the main interstates in the nation,” in its favor.

The stiffest competition, Frost acknowledged, is likely to come from Clovis.

“It’s funny,” he said. “They supported us on our first bid.”

The main problem with Clovis, he said, is that it is too close to existing racino facilities in Hobbs.

A racino in Clovis, he said, would attract the same residents of the Lubbock and Midland areas of Texas that Hobbs is currently drawing, making it a poor choice.

The main thing that the project needs now, he said, is community support, and he hopes the community will demonstrate strong support when the state starts conducting hearings for the racino in August.

 

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