Looking back before the cutting of Sugarcane Bay

By Crystal Price - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Pinnacle Entertainment's decision on Thursday to scrap the building of the Sugarcane Bay Casino and Hotel took many folks by surprise in the lake area.

The parent company has now decided to return that riverboat license to the gaming control board.

The plan to bring Sugarcane Bay to the lake area began back in 2006 after Hurricane Rita damaged the Harrah's Casino.

On November 7, 2006, 64% of the voters voted in favor of building Sugarcane Bay.

"Sugarcane Bay is another 350 million dollar destination resort combined Lauberge du lac and sugarcane bay will be the largest and best destination resort," said Jeff Barrage, company spokesperson for Sugarcane Bay in 2006.

The proposed casino originally would have brought in 2,000 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction jobs.

The project did run in to a few hold ups along the way when in April 2009 the groundbreaking was pushed off a few months.

"We asked for another 150 days, beyond the 90 days," said Jack Godfey with Pinnacle Entertainment in April of 2009.

But shortly after Sugarcane Bay broke ground on October 19, 2009, changes were proposed to the design as pinnacle officials shifted the building location from the west side to the east side.

This change cut the cost of the project down to $305 million dollars.

"We continually re-evaluate our projects and make sure that the return on our investment is as high as possible," said Godfey.

The planning came to a screeching halt on April 15, 2010 as Pinnacle Entertainment announced that Sugarcane Bay would not be coming to the lake area.

"It just was not the fiscally responsible thing to do to move forward with this project," said Kerry Andersen, spokesperson for Lauberge Du Lac.

While there is disappointment there is still hope for economic growth in the lake area.

"Are we disappointed that we're not going to have Sugarcane Bay as it looks now, of course we are," said Brent Lumpkin, a business developer from Lake Charles. "But I think we're very fortunate that Lauberge Du Lac is the leading riverboat casino and it's here in Calcasieu parish."

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