Construction on Mojito Pointe to start later this year - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Construction on Mojito Pointe to start later this year

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

After voters approved the Mojito Pointe project on Saturday, Creative Casinos' Dan Lee said construction could start as early as September, as late as December.

Lee also said surveyors have already been out to the site where the casino resort will be built. He says engineers, the contractor and architects will begin meeting on Monday in Las Vegas.

Construction of Mojito Pointe is expected to be complete in the spring or summer of 2013.

On Saturday, voters in Calcasieu Parish overwhelmingly approved the project, 77% to 23%.

BACK STORY

It all began in 2005 after Hurricane Rita came ashore and damaged Harrah's Casino, forcing the casino to close permanently. That left the state with one riverboat license available. Now, it would all depend on someone coming forward to request it.

Hope came in 2006 when Pinnacle Entertainment announced plans to build a $305 million casino resort next to its L'Auberge du Lac casino resort in Lake Charles. The resort would be known as Sugar Cane Bay.

Believing the project would spur economic development, voters in Calcasieu Parish overwhelmingly approved Sugar Cane Bay in November 2006.

Pinnacle broke ground on the project in October of 2009.

But in April 2010, everything came to a screeching halt as Pinnacle announced it was canceling the project for fiscal reasons. The company surrendered its license to the state gaming control board.

Disappointed, the state entertained new offers to build a project similar to Sugar Cane Bay.

Four groups came forward with proposals, including Creative Casinos, which was headed by the former CEO of Pinnacle Entertainment, Dan Lee.

The state gaming control board picked Lee's Mojito Pointe project.

Not in favor of the idea of a competing casino next to L'Auberge, Pinnacle filed suits against both Lee and the Port of Lake Charles.

After months of legal wrangling over land and contracts, all sides agreed to a settlement last week.

Pinnacle and Creative Casinos agreed to share festival areas located between the two hotels, making them the only paired casino resorts with a golf course outside of Las Vegas.

On Saturday, parish voters overwhelmingly gave their support to Mojito Pointe.

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