Locals react to scrapping of Sugarcane Bay - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Locals react to scrapping of Sugarcane Bay

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

 LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) -The much anticipated Sugarcane Bay Casino and hotel expansion is a no go. Pinnacle Entertainment has scrapped the project is returning that riverboat license to the Gaming Control Board.

There will be a local move to keep that 15th riverboat license in this area.

Construction was already underway on Sugarcane Bay-- the $305 million casino and hotel expansion that was to be located next to L'Auberge du Lac. But now Pinnacle Entertainment has decided to scrap the project for economic reasons. Spokesperson Kerry Andersen acknowledges it's a disappointment. "We have some new management that came in and took a really close look at the entire company, all of our pending projects, and in the current environment decided it just was not the fiscally responsible thing to do to move forward with this project."

 Still she says the company remains deeply committed to its Lake Charles facility and predicts continued economic growth here. The construction site at L'Auberge will soon be cleaned up and the area returned to parking. And Andersen says the riverboat license for Sugarcane Bay has been returned to the Gaming Control Board. "Tuesday we will go to the Gaming Control Board in Baton Rouge. Our CEO will testify before the board."

 The loss of Sugarcane bay is a blow to those who've worked to promote economic growth like businessman and developer Brent Lumpkin. But he says the economy will be fine. "Pinnacle is an outstanding company. They've had great leadership here. They've got a tremendous amount of money invested here already, over a half a billion dollars. So consequently Pinnacle's still going to do well, Calcasieu Parish is going to do well. Are we disappointed that we're not going to have Sugarcane Bay as it looks now, of course we are. But I think we're very fortunate this is the leading riverboat casino in the State of Louisiana and it's here in Calcasieu Parish."

 Calcasieu Parish Administrator Bryan Beam agrees.  "It's a blow to the area, however, this is a very diversified economy that we have in Southwest Louisiana. We're going to be fine. We've got a lot that 's going on that's good in this community. So we'll weather this storm."

 Lake Charles Port officials say an effort will be made to keep the 15th gaming license in Southwest Louisiana-- but that will ultimately be decided by the state Gaming Control Board.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach said this morning on 7News Sunrise, that Pinnacle officials have told him they remain committed to turning over the old Harrah's Casino Hotel on the lake to the city for development.


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