Lake Charles Port to secure new $350M gaming resort

The following is a news release from the Lake Charles Port Board:

At a special board meeting held today at the Port of Lake Charles, the Board of Commissioners for the Port of Lake Charles took initial steps to secure a new $350 million gaming resort to replace the canceled Sugarcane Bay Resort formerly proposed by Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (Pinnacle).

Following the announcement by Pinnacle in April 2010 that it was canceling the Sugarcane Bay gaming resort project, the Port sought proposals from interested developers for a replacement project. Three separate proposals have been received by the Port.  Each of the three proposed gaming resort projects desire to be located on the Port's 230 acres adjacent to Interstate 210 and the successful L'Auberge gaming resort. These three projects significantly vary in size and scope.

As a result of the Port's action today, a final Option to Lease Agreement will be negotiated with one or more of the interested parties. These interested parties, along with possibly other parties who might propose projects for other properties around the state, will file applications with the Louisiana Gaming Control Board by September 23, 2010. The Gaming Control Board will, thereafter, select the best proposed project and location for award of the gaming license given up by Pinnacle canceling the Sugarcane Bay project.

In today's action, the Port instructed its staff to ensure that any final Option to Lease Agreement with any potential developer mandate that the developer construct and operate a gaming resort comparable to the former Sugarcane Bay project. This would require that any project must generally meet the following requirements:

  • Minimum project investment of $350 million
  • 400 room hotel/meeting rooms and support facilities
  • Minimum 30,000 square feet of casino gaming on a single level
  • 2500 seat Theater/Entertainment facility
  • Resort quality amenities such as a spa, swimming pools, golf course; a minimum of three restaurants; retail and other entertainment and recreational facilities

The required minimum project is expected to create 2,000 permanent jobs over an 18-month period and 1,500 permanent jobs and generate millions in local and state revenues and economic impact.

In making its decision today, the Port decided not to pursue an offer by Pinnacle to continue to lease the Port's property, previously designated for the Sugarcane Bay resort, for other non-gaming development. Pinnacle proposed keeping the lease and paying for a study to consider possible other retail and entertainment development on the property. Under the Pinnacle proposal, the type of development and timing of any particular type of development was considered to be too uncertain.

The Board is interest in pursuing further discussions with Pinnacle of its non-gaming retail and entertainment proposal on other properties.

"While Pinnacle has been an excellent tenant and partner of the Port, which we hope continues as to the outstanding L'Auberge resort development, the proposal by Pinnacle to use the former Sugarcane Bay site for some sort of non-gaming retail and entertainment development was too uncertain. This is especially true considering the fact that the Port has several reputable developers with a definite development plan and timeline for implementation once the Gaming Board makes its decision," said Wade Shaddock, Port Board President.