Ramkota Companies bought 103 acres from the actor near The Lodge at Deadwood with plans to build a resort, including a lodge with conference space, indoor water park, restaurant and lounge, vacation rental cabins and casino in a three-phase project expected to be complete in 2019.
Despite ambitious plans that went awry, a new major resort may arise in Deadwood, S.D., on land once owned by movie star Kevin Costner after all, the Rapid City (S.D.) Journal reported.
The Sioux Falls-based Ramkota Companies announced last week that it has purchased 103 acres from Costner near The Lodge at Deadwood and plans to build a major new, family-style resort on the site where the actor/director once had hoped to build his ill-fated Dunbar Resort, the Journal reported.
The property, in two parcels, includes ground east of the existing Costner-owned “Tatanka: Story of the Bison” attraction, as well as about 35 acres west of The Lodge, said Ramkota President and Chief Executive Officer Tom Biegler.
“Oh boy, the first time I was actually able to walk the site and to get a feel for how grand it is, I was able to make out in my mind where a hotel and cabins could sit, and what we could do with the topography,” Biegler said.
While Biegler said he was not at liberty to disclose the purchase price of the properties, Lawrence County Register of Deeds records revealed Deadwood Resort LLC, an affiliate of Ramkota Companies, paid $7,500 in transaction fees for the land buy. Register of Deeds Sheree Green said Wednesday afternoon that translates into a $7.5 million purchase price paid to Costner for the properties, the Journal reported.
As envisioned, the project will feature a new lodge with conference space, a large indoor water park, a full-service restaurant and lounge, vacation rental cabins and some form of casino, Biegler said. Ramkota expects to complete the three-phase project sometime in 2019, the Journal reported.
Ramkota already operates a 40,000-sq. ft. indoor water park at Alexandria, Minn., and a 30,000-sq. ft. water park at Lake Okoboji in Iowa, Biegler noted. Ramkota has been pleased with the performance of The Lodge at Deadwood, a major convention center hotel with a restaurant, sports bar, large casino and swimming pool, and decided it was time to seize new opportunities in the Black Hills, he said.
“The reality is we love Deadwood,” said Biegler. “We have a huge vested interest in Rapid City, Custer State Park and Deadwood, so anything that bolsters sales throughout the Hills is a good thing. We’re over-the-moon excited about the prospect of this new resort in Deadwood.”
City and chamber officials embraced Ramkota’s plans to bring a new resort to Deadwood, the Journal reported.
“I am extremely excited about the prospect of having a new facility that will employ a large number of people and expand the tax base of Deadwood,” Mayor Chuck Turbiville said. “With these plans, I hope it will make Deadwood more of a family destination.”
The mayor said he often hears complaints from visitors that there is little for children to do in Deadwood. “Parents can go to the casinos and kids can go to the museums, but with the cabins and the water park, this will truly make Deadwood a family destination,” he said.
Costner reportedly acquired most of his property in the Black Hills in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In July 2013, Costner put 1,000 acres he owned near Deadwood on the market with an asking price of $14 million. The properties included the site of the highly touted but unsuccessful Dunbar Resort, a $100 million project that would have included a steam-fired passenger train and a championship alpine golf course, the Journal reported.