I'll just preface this by saying that this is just me dreaming, and NOT AN ACTUAL IOC PLAN OR IDEA. (That I know of)
Here's a little map I made, which you'll need to click on to read any of the labels.Ok, my basic concept would be Isle of Capri moving its gaming operations to the L-shaped parking lot that currently surrounds the Blackhawk Hotel. This would be potentially easier now that they may not be required to build the casino on a Styrofoam floor or cushion of water or other silliness.
Since Davenport's casino is probably not going to go the golf course resort route of Riverside, I thought it could be an interesting idea to combine an urban location with an indoor waterpark. This would possibly give the kids something to do while Mom and Dad are off gambling away their inheritance. According to its website, the Grand Harbor indoor waterpark in Dubuque is around 25,000 square feet. According to my measurements on the overhead imagery site Map24.com, the area of the Blackhawk/parking lots block is about 300x300 feet.
The first part of this plan would be to renovate the Blackhawk according to the current city plan, which would include 100+ convention hotel rooms, and possibly some residential living space. This hotel, while aimed at convention or business guests, would be operated by IOC. The second component would be the construction of a 10-14 story hotel, similar to the one that was proposed for the riverfront. This hotel had a small footprint to go with its somewhat respectable height. The bottom 2 or 3 floors of this would be the new, land-based casino. North of this would be the 25,000+ square foot indoor waterpark, which I believe our community has a need for with the loss of Wacky Waters and our difficult weather. North of the existing Blackhawk would be a new parking garage, of whatever height was deemed necessary. Because of the existing Blackhawk's height, none of this would block many river views that aren't already blocked.
The area East of Pershing currently occupied by an auto repair shop, musicians union hall, and crappy strip retail could potentially be used for something with the addition of a skywalk over Pershing. The newly redone plaza directly north of the Rivercenter and adjacent to the Federal Building could be enclosed to extend the Rivercenter to 4th street, or left alone. This would be somewhat of a dark canyon though. Also, I think this plan would work well to connect the Crescent Warehouse District with the rest of downtown, which it is currently isolated from.
Problems with my plan
Money!!! Incentives or not, this thing would cost a fortune. Its also a completely unproven idea. I can't think of a place outside of a Vegas or Atlantic City style city where a large land-based casino complex is located in the heart of a downtown district. The parking garage and indoor waterpark buildings could potentially block some of the windows of the North wing of the Blackhawk, eliminating their use as hotel rooms, condos, or apartments. I'm sure commenters will think of thousands more problems with this idea, so I'll stop there.
Obviously this exact project won't happen, but I would really love to see IOC consider something along these lines. It could really turn downtown into a regional draw, solve the RiverCenter's lack of connected hotel rooms, and clear up the entire riverfront for greenspace or other river-friendly uses.