CASPER, Wyo. – “307 Horse Racing”, which is a subsidiary of the WERCS group, is considering a project to demolish the existing shopping center in Casper and construct a new building that would house a liquor store, bar and off-road. horse racing games machine room.
WERCS Group President and CEO Bob Moberly told Casper City Council on Tuesday, August 24 that the project would help improve the area as an eastern gateway to downtown.
In order to facilitate the project, the WERCS group is working to secure the control of retail liquor license # 5 for “307 Horse Racing”. This license is currently owned by Travis Taylor, but it has not seen a significant economic generation since Taylor acquired the license in 2016, according to Casper City staff. City attorney John Henley said the Wyoming Liquor Division is reporting that no alcohol purchases have been made under the license since December 2020.
The article continues below …
WERCS Group COO Kyle Ridgeway told city council that WERCS signed a contract with Taylor on Tuesday to acquire retail liquor license No.5. This deal is subject to approval by the city council transfer of license from Taylor to 307 Horse Racing.
Ridgway showed council some architectural drawings of the plans for the new facility. He said the new building will house 307 Horse Racing’s first location in Casper.
In addition to the liquor store, bar and games room, signage and lighting would be added.
Ridgeway said the WERCS group would like the demolition of the building to begin in September. The group hopes the new building will be ready for operation in the summer or fall of 2022. It warned that due to supply chain issues, that schedule could be forced to be pushed back.
He said getting the liquor license would be “an important part of making this viable”. Ridgeway said the ability to serve alcohol is key to a successful gaming business. 307 Horse Racing would likely serve food as well, but a full-service restaurant is not being considered.
Ridgeway said the WERCS group is taking the project seriously and that is why they hired an architect to design the plans for a new building. He said the goal of the WERCS group is to “keep more money in Wyoming”.
Vice-Mayor Ray Pacheco said he appreciated the WERCS group “reinvesting in the community”. While Pacheco said he wanted to see the retail liquor license “start making money,” he was happy to hear the WERCS Group’s commitment to communicate on the building plans.
Pacheco said that if the building and the business can become a reality over the next year or so, it will be “really good for the community”.
Board member Bruce Knell said he wanted to make sure the project was real because he believes the board has been “cheated a number of times” over the fact that the liquor retail license has not been fully utilized in recent years.
“These are distributed in order to create economic development,” Knell said. “This is not what happened.”
Ridgway said “we wouldn’t have come here if we weren’t serious about it,” pointing out that the liquor license would be key to the 307 Horse Racing business and that architects had been hired.
He said that even though the WERCS Group was the owner to whom Taylor’s retail liquor license is attached in the Commissary Mall, he didn’t think inaction on the license in recent years should be held against them.
“We come to the board with good intentions,” Ridgeway said. “Our business case for opening this location is incredibly strong, so we’re ready to do it. “
Mayor Steve Freel said he was confident the liquor license would become active again if transferred to 307 Horse Racing. He said he would not blame the WERCS group for the permit having been parked for four years.
Freel also suggested that he would have some tolerance if the unforeseen made the build last a little longer than expected.
The WERCS group plans to present an agreement with Taylor to transfer the license under its control to the city within about a month. The city council would then be invited to consider approving the transfer.
The board previously gave Taylor until Dec. 13 to sell or transfer the license, according to a note in the board’s working file. Taylor is expected to brief city council on Sept. 7 regarding the progress made in the substantial use of the license.
Taylor attended the February 16, 2021 council meeting. There, he provided the following information, according to the note in the city council working file:
The city can have a maximum of 37 full retail liquor licenses under state status.