Sugar Cane Bay expected to boost economy

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - When the new Sugar Cane Bay Casino complex is completed, Pinnacle Entertainment will become the 2nd largest employer in Calcasieu Parish-- with close to five thousand employees.It may be the beginning of something huge for the local economy.

Says Director of Community and Public Relations, Kerry Andersen, "This is going to become the new destination for travelers, Southwest Louisiana will be the place that people want to come and spend their leisure time."

Sugar Cane Bay has grown from a $350 million dollar development to $407 million and is expected to draw tourists from all over.  Andersen says a new performance arena will attract big names, "The kind of entertainment acts to date have only really been able to go to much larger cities. So with 3000 seats we'll be able to have some really large A plus acts come through Lake Charles."

McNeese Economics Professor Dr. Michael Kurth says there's huge potential for the local economy.  "We have some that's like two and a half times larger than the Biloxi market. If you look at what they had down there and you look at what's nearby, around Lake Charles. We have many more people in Austin and Houston and San Antonio to draw from. And there's no legal gambling in Texas so that goes all the way to the New Mexico border."

He says the key is to work to make it a destination area. "Where people don't just stop off I-10 but where they actually plan to come here and stay and the key to that is having things for them to do and Lake Charles has not been notorious for its active night life, you know, so they have to create some of their own. It's exciting to see them building the event arena."

Once Sugar Cane Bay is operating Pinnacle Entertainment is expected to have up to 4700hundred employees here. Andersen says of 2200 new jobs an estimated 400 are expected to be management or supervisor type positions. "This is the chance for anyone who is looking for a new job or a new career to significantly change their life by coming on board here. Our company is an employer of choice and offers great benefits and great opportunities to grow into a career, not just a job."

Once Sugar Cane Bay is built Pinnacle Entertainment will have more than a billion dollars invested in the Lake Charles market.  No word yet on when they'll begin taking applications for new employees but we'll keep you posted.

L'auberge also has a program aimed at helping employees within the company expand their skills into management.   Explains Andersen, "L'auberge du lac is currently conducting Succession Planning. We are actively identifying employees interested in expanding their skill set into management, assigning them a mentor and offering complimentary smt classes (supervisory & management training). It is our hope that we can promote from within for many of the upcoming positions necessary to operate Sugarcane Bay.

" We are also actively partnering with and recruiting from local and regional colleges and technical schools. It is our belief that given our competitive pay and attractive benefits package that L'auberge will be the employer of choice for Calcasieu Parish. Among our benefits:

ø medical/dental insurance (even for p/T employees)
ø tuition reimbursement
ø scholarship programs for employees children attending college ø employee assistance fund
ø free daily meal
ø 401k
ø career development § new jobs - 2,200 close to 400 of those positions will be managerial and supervisor positions.
Ø flexible work hours ø free health fairs; wellness events; full-time on-site wellness professional

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