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  #41  
Old Posted Aug 26, 2007, 10:14 PM
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2007 Casino Census: Rattle And Hum

It's hard to say which is making more noise - slot machines or new construction
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com

BILOXI --Two years after Hurricane Katrina shut down the casino business on the Coast, gross gaming revenue soared to a record high of $122.4 million in July, 11 casinos are open compared with 12 before the stormand it's difficult to keep count of how many more are proposed.

Developers Donald Trump and the Golden Nugget have come and gone, but others - including singer Jimmy Buffett - are investing in the Coast. Buffett partnered with Harrah's Entertainment and said he'll be very involved in the planning and design of the Margaritaville Casino, whose construction got under way this month.

Hard Rock Casino opened in June with huge numbers, continuing the Coast's record of expanding its market share with the opening of each new hotel/casino/resort. Casino executives and Mississippi Gaming Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pé said a year ago on the first anniversary of Katrina they expect this trend to continue.

St. Pé said the $500 million invested by MGM Mirage to reopen Beau Rivage a year ago is an indicator of what's to come on the Coast. "They spent that sum of money to make sure they had a world-class facility that was going to be able to compete with other world-class facilities that they're concerned are coming."

As Coast casinos built back, plush suites, spas, restaurants with celebrity chefs and signature golf courses became standard amenities and are transforming the properties into casino resorts to draw more visitors to the Coast.

Here's a rundown on each casino:

Beau Rivage

Beau Rivage's management has pledged to continue to be a top player on the Coast. The World Poker Tour begins Wednesday, the second anniversary of Katrina, and will focus national attention on the resort. Beau Rivage presents celebrity acts and brings conventions to the Coast.

Boomtown

One of only two Coast casinos without a hotel, Boomtown does have lots of land around the property purchased after the storm and rezoned waterfront. With owner Penn National Gaming being acquired by investment firms, it's uncertain when or how the property will be developed.

Grand Biloxi

With two pedestrian bridges over U.S. 90 that will eventually connect it to Margaritaville Casino, the resort is in a promising position for the future and is currently making an impression on guests with its spa and other boutique amenities.

Hard Rock Casino

In the two months since it opened, the resort has managed to attract both young and older guests with its music memorabilia from several generations. It offers both the Hard Rock Cafe and upscale restaurants in a classic-rock atmosphere that appeals to a big age range.

Hollywood Bay St. Louis

With a new name and image, Hollywood fought back from the storm to recapture its market and put 900 people back to work in Hancock County. Soaring insurance rates are making it challenging to move ahead with plans to grow the 600-acre resort. Special events and promotions are attracting new visitors.

Island View Casino

Gulfport's only casino is owned by two local businessmen who bought Harrah's Grand Casino Gulfport after the storm. They have since opened two phases of casino development and are planning a third. Emeril's Gulf Coast Fish House is proving to be popular since celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse opened the restaurant at the resort this summer.

Isle of Capri

After Labor Day the valet ramp leading to the resort will be demolished and construction will begin on a new casino, restaurant and other amenities. On Aug. 1 the company celebrated the 15th anniversary of bringing casino gambling to the Coast and has acquired additional land on the Point for as-yet-undisclosed development.

IP Casino Hotel Spa

The movie theater closed this month to make way for a $100 million project that will see the first onshore slots at IP, along with new shops and a new restaurant. The casino was the first to reopen after the storm and continues to be updated and improved.

Palace Casino

A 24-hour bakery and café opened this year and other projects are proposed. Mignon's Steaks & Seafood was the only Coast restaurant to receive Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence for both 2006 and 2007.

Silver Slipper

An RV park will be opening to provide space for guests who want to stay on the property but a start date for a hotel hasn't been determined. The Hancock County resort has a fine-dining restaurant and a buffet.

Treasure Bay

Rooms on several floors of the hotel have just opened; additional rooms, a fine-dining restaurant, lounge and conference space are expected to be completed in late September. Ninety guest rooms overlooking the new pool will be added later this year.

Approved or proposed

Biloxi

Bacaran Bay - Ground breaking is planned for before the end of the year and it is expected to be open by 2009. It will be the first all-suite hotel and the first condo hotel in a casino resort on the Coast. A big list of amenities includes eight restaurants, an entertainment venue, a blues club, upscale shopping, spa and fitness center, meeting space, business center, ballroom, on-site wedding chapel, dog hotel for guests' pets, a two-acre rooftop swimming pool and an Arnold Palmer signature golf course.

Bayview Ventures - John Ed Ainsworth, one of the developers, said they hope to break ground next year for the 60,000-square-foot casino and 509-room hotel.

Broadwater - Preliminary site plans were approved for a $1 billion project with two casinos, convention space, hotel and condo units, a golf course and retail space. One of the developers, Mark Calvert, said he and his partners are looking for the right joint venture or sale on the 260-acre site.

Margaritaville - Ground was broken this month for the first Margaritaville Casino, which will open in 2010.

Tivoli Hotel - Biloxi Capital's $1.2 billion casino resort is proposed on the north side of U.S. 90. The Biloxi City Council is expected to vote shortly on rezoning the property to waterfront, which would be necessary before the Mississippi Gaming Commission would rule on whether it is a legal casino site.

D'Iberville

Royal D'Iberville - Site work is under way and developer Mark Seymour Sr. said plans call for a hotel and casino, a marina, condos and an open-air market underneath elevated shops and restaurants.

West D'Iberville - Las Vegas casino executive Peter Simon received approval for the site and has said he plans a 52,500-square-foot casino with 1,500 slot machines and 50 table games. Site plans are expected to come before the D'Iberville Planning Commission shortly.

Western Harrison County

Pine Hill - Isle of Capri plans to build its second Coast casino north of Bay St. Louis on the site that was proposed for a Circus Circus casino. The $250 million proposed resort would be the closest Coast casino to Interstate 10.

Hancock County

Diamondhead Casino - An offer of $100 million was rejected for the 404-acre property fronting both Interstate 10 and the Bay of St. Louis for about two miles. Diamondhead Casino Corp. does have an option on five acres for $750,000 per acre.

Jackson County

The Mississippi Band of Choctaws has proposed building a casino at Exit 57 of Interstate 10. Both Gov. Haley Barbour and the U.S. Department of the Interior would have to approve the casino. Barbour said he isn't in favor of expanding casinos beyond the counties in which they are already located and the Interior Department hasn't granted any applications for locating a tribal casino 200 miles from a reservation.
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  #42  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2007, 5:12 PM
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Project Progress

As many developments move forward, others are bogged down by obstacles
By PRISCILLA FRULLA
pfrulla@sunherald.com

The rebuilding of South Mississippi is well under way, though not as quickly as many developers would like. Since Hurricane Katrina, dozens of residential and commercial developments have been announced.

Some of those projects are moving forward and others have been bogged down in the permitting process or are still dealing with financing or bureaucracy before proceeding.

Here are updates on some of the larger and more widely discussed projects. Future updates on condominiums and other large developments will follow as they move forward.

Hancock County

In July, developers William Shanks II and Stephen Rimmer III broke ground on Shieldsboro, the first large-scale housing development to be built in Bay St. Louis since Hurricane Katrina.

Shieldsboro, the original name of the Bay, will consist of 280 cottages, duplexes, town homes and condos on 42.8 acres located at Old Spanish Trail and St. Charles Avenue. Shanks expects the units to sell for between $165,000 and $200,000.

Infrastructure is going in and "home construction will start in mid-November if everything stays on schedule," said Shanks.

Shanks and Rimmer presented their original plans in April 2006 and received approval from the city's Planning and Zoning Commission in August 2006. Original plans called for construction of 344 housing units, but in order to keep the many oak trees on the property, the number of units was cut.

Jackson County

In November, Bienville Quarters was announced. The 60-unit condominium project is to be built north of Interstate 10 on Tucker Road in Jackson County. Baton Rouge-based Ventures Development hoped to break ground on the project in February but had not done so as of press time.

Realtor Mary Ann Clisby said the developers were expecting to get permits this week.

"We are ready to start right now," said Clisby.

Harrison County

In Pass Christian, Skip Negrotto said his development is also ready to start, but he is waiting for action by the city.

"We are just waiting for the city to adopt the SmartCode maps," he said.

Negrotto and Steve Planchard are principals in the Harbor Town development announced in May. Negrotto said the project was granted conceptual approval in April contingent upon the transect maps that would go along with the city's adoption of SmartCode.

Negrotto had hoped to start construction in June but said the development has been put on hold until the city grants a permit. The development plans have 40,000 square feet of retail space under 150 condominium units and a two-story parking garage.

The project will be on the west side of Market Street, extending from U.S. 90 to Second Street. The development will overlook the harbor on property that was home to John Ellis Real Estate, Harbor View Cafe, Domino's, Tigres and other businesses before Hurricane Katrina. A lighthouse is also planned on the property.

Regarding a proposed D'Iberville retail development, "there is nothing yet to announce," said Loretta Edwards of Woodmont Development.

In January, the Sun Herald reported the D'Iberville City Council rezoned 40 acres for Woodmont's Bayou Bridges retail center intended to attract retailers such as Target and PETCO, but questions and disputes over a proposed access ramp from Interstate 110may have delayed the development.

Two massive Harrison County developments were also announced in January. An 800-acre project, River Hills, would adjoin Old U.S. 49, north of Jeremy Road and east of Mark West Road in the Lyman area.

Plans for River Hills have a 1-acre town square surrounded by retail and service businesses with above-store condominiums, 1,600 detached single-family houses and a wetlands conservation area.

NewShore Development's executive vice president Leigh Longwitz said the company is proceeding with the development.

NewShore is "working with our engineers on environmental permitting and defining the infrastructure and road specifications," said Longwitz, and "discussing long-term options for providing solutions for law enforcement, fire and schools."

The second Harrison County development, which will be known as The Village, will adjoin parts of the Wolf River. The 130-acre property at the southwest corner of Interstate 10 and County Farm Road was rezoned to waterfront district, which allows for mixed-use development.

Plans for The Village have more than 700 housing units, a hotel, retail office space and restaurants.

"We plan on putting a shovel in the ground before the end of the year," said developer Richard Bronsky. "We are negotiating with two major tenants, a hotel and medical center and plan on breaking ground some time in November."

Bronsky said the next steps in Trilogy CSI's plans for the development will be to build a retail lifestyle center and an apartment complex."
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  #43  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2007, 5:29 PM
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Bacaran Bay

Sitework is supposedly underway at the Bacaran Bay. They said they are preping the site with a new sewage station and then the cranes will be brought in.




www.bacaranbay.com
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  #44  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2007, 11:09 PM
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According to Vieux Crescente's website, they have recently purchased additional property and is in the process of upgrading their master plan that will include a casino. They expect to post more news soon.

http://www.vuecrescente.com/
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  #45  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2007, 11:25 PM
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Bacaran Bay Recently got permision from the city of Biloxi to relocate a lift station from their site to property they purchased on the corner of Percy and Caillavett at their own expense. They plan to begin construction immediately after this has been accomplished.
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Old Posted Sep 2, 2007, 11:58 PM
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Yes, Biloxi will soon be the Las Vegas of the south, but with a view of the gulf instead of desert hills. Another billion dollar casino (Casablanca) as equally as impressive as the Tivoli is planned for the former Biloxi Beach Resort property near DeBuys road. I hope that they reconsider and put it in East Biloxi. Perhaps on the old Lady Luck property after negotiating a deal with Harrah's (which owns the land). I'm against rezoning additional property in West Biloxi. I say with the exception of Treasure Bay and The Broadwater Beach property, keep the casinos in East Biloxi on Casino Row (the loop). If you've noticed, several of the new condos were slated to begin construction or start additional phases this summer. Many are stalled/delaying because they're waiting for the outcome of the Tivoli rezoning request to see if they can potentially add casinos or slots as added special amenities to their properties. I have also heard from a credible source that Steve Wynn and Donald Trump are indeed taking part in the Broadwater Beach redevelopment.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2007, 12:17 AM
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Red UM Rebel, I commend you on your postings to this site. The Mississippi Gulf Coast does indeed deserve its own Skyscraper Page. There are several major architect and development firms (such as Friedmutter, that have offices in Vegas and Atlantic City) that now have new offices in Biloxi. This fact clearly states and solidifies the fact that Biloxi is destined to be the next top tourist destination.
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  #48  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2007, 6:13 PM
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You are most welcome BLX. I totally agree with everything you have said. It is such an awesome place to be right now, and the opportunities are endless. I have not heard anything about Vieux Crescente adding a casino, but it makes total sense because of construction prices soaring they would probably need to make the extra income to build their two towers. Do you know if the design will change for the towers, or is it going to stay the same? I also have not heard about the Casablanca. Is it another Biloxi Capital Venture, and I assume that it will face the same difficulty as the Tivoli. I also agree, I have heard from Mark Calvert at the Broadwater that "big" people have began to talk to him about the property. Anything going to develop where the old seafood museum and warehouse is? It is prime realestate, but with the Isle doing so much development across the street, I doubt they will do anything there.
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Old Posted Sep 3, 2007, 7:00 PM
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Council eyes residential, condo issues, new gaming zones

BLX, I found this info about the Casablanca on the Biloxi Website

7/21/2006


The Biloxi City Council on Tuesday faces an agenda of two dozen issues, including five requests for residential setback requirements, a sign variance for a rebuilt Waffle House restaurant, 194 additional residential condominiums in west Biloxi, and a measure that would direct the Planning Commission to conduct public hearings about creating new gaming districts in east and west Biloxi.

The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The majority of the setback requirements involve neighborhood rebuilding or repair efforts, while the condominium project involves approval of Phase 2 of Oak Shores Condominiums, formerly known as the Oakwoods Apartments. Phase 2, which involves a nine-story structure, seeks several variances, including height and parking exceptions. A measure on the agenda would also allow variances involving plans to reconstruct the Broadway Inn Express motel on U.S. 90 in west Biloxi.

A proposal requesting a zoning change for a 12.8-acre site off Brodie Road for a proposed condominium project is also on the agenda. Developers say the project, called Magnolia Cove Resort, could also include a marina, restaurant and retail shops.

Councilmember Mike Fitzpatrick has introduced a measure that would direct the Planning Commission to hold hearings for input on proposals to re-zone 30 acres north of U.S. 90 between Holley and Kuhn streets for a proposed Tivoli Resort project; and a proposal to rezone 20 acres north of U.S. 90 from Debuys Road to Gateway Drive for a proposed Casablanca project.


LINK
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Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 11:38 PM
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Casablanca and Vieux Crescente

Red UM Rebel, Below are statements from Vieux Crescente's web site that I inserted. If you recall, about a year ago councilman Mike Fitzpatrick was on Wlox and in the Sunherald trying to drum up support for both the Tivoli and the Casablanca. They are now concentrating on one project at a time for obvious reasons. Although the Casablanca resort is an awesome project, I am not enthused about the location. They want to build it on the former Biloxi Beach Resort near DeBuy's road backing the Gulf Coast Medical Center. I hope that they reconsider and build both the Tivoli and Casablanca in east Biloxi to create a strip similar to Las Vegas, not spread all along the beach front. I have no objections to condo developments in west Biloxi. If you would like to get a glimpse of the Casablanca Casino Resort, you can view it by going to the office of Gulf Coast Development Investments or go to the link below and click on Clearwater Beach Resort which was slated for Clearwater Beach, FL but never built. A forty plus story rendering of this very design was spotted in GCID's Vieux Marche' office labeled as the Tivoli but has now changed to the Casablanca since the Tivoli has been redesigned. On the web site of Dale-Morris architects, you will see that they also designed the Bacaran Bay as well as the Vieux Crescente resorts and have opened a firm in Biloxi.



http://www.dale-morris.com/portfolio.html


The Mississippi Gulf Coast is poised for growth. The casino industry is estimating over $3 billion in revenue for 2007. We expect the momentum of real estate sales to continue throughout the summer and fall of 2007. Vieux Crescente will begin providing updates on construction of the development in
upcoming weeks. - Sandmark Bay




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

August 01, 2007
RE: Update

Dear Vieux Purchasers:

Vieux Crescente remains in the Hard Copy Phase, with a little under half of the tower sold. Over the past six months we have gone from 7 acres to 16 acres. We think that our project would benefit greatly from incorporating a gaming product into the Master Plan, a goal we are currently pursuing.

In the near future we will update you as we move forward throughout this process. Again, we feel that this will be a great asset to the Vieux Crescente Project.

Also, we have relocated the Sandmark Bay office (Vieux Crescente) to 978 Division Street, Biloxi, MS 39350. Please direct all mail to this new address.

Sincerely,

R. David Sanders
Sandmark Bay, LLC
Vieux Crescente
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  #51  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2007, 11:56 PM
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Tivoli Rezoning

Today the Biloxi city council held the first reading of the rezoning of the proposed Tivoli property. A vote of 4 to 3 passed to keep it on the docket. They will most likely vote to rezone or not next week 9/18/07.
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 6:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLX 101 View Post
Red UM Rebel, Below are statements from Vieux Crescente's web site that I inserted. If you recall, about a year ago councilman Mike Fitzpatrick was on Wlox and in the Sunherald trying to drum up support for both the Tivoli and the Casablanca. They are now concentrating on one project at a time for obvious reasons. Although the Casablanca resort is an awesome project, I am not enthused about the location. They want to build it on the former Biloxi Beach Resort near DeBuy's road backing the Gulf Coast Medical Center. I hope that they reconsider and build both the Tivoli and Casablanca in east Biloxi to create a strip similar to Las Vegas, not spread all along the beach front. I have no objections to condo developments in west Biloxi.
Thanks for the info BLX. I did a little searching between and actually called the Cresente's sales group, and they did say that they were considering the possibility. I did look at the picture too. I hate to say it, but I was not blown away. I think that they might get the Tivoli passed, but West Biloxi is already happy the Broadwater is gone and the Treasure Bay is so small. I agree with you on the point though that everything should be kept east of the I-110 bridge. With the Cresente adding a casino, the Bayview Casino, IP possibly looking at a hotel expansion, Bacaran Bay, all of MGM's property that is casino eligible, the Hard Rock and its room for growth, possible Tivoli land, Margaritaville (and hopefully a Ceasar's one day across the street), a larger, nicer Isle, the point cadet casino which will eventually get built, the Palace expanding, and all that land behind the Palace which was originally going to be the Havana Casino there is little need to go elsewhere.

The only way the Broadwater will really do well is if they bring in a huge name. Well, what huge names are left? MGM and Harrah's are taken, so I guess that leaves you with Trump, Sands Las Vegas, and Wynn. I seriously doubt any of those would develop (except wynn might like the access to design a new golf course (Broadwater Bay Course)). I think that the Treasure Bay and Island View should remain a novelty and not the rule
.
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 6:26 AM
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Time to 'fill in the blanks'

After 11 years, Caillavet ready for development
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI --Mayor A.J. Holloway is more than ready to see businesses, shops and apartments lining Caillavet Street, 11 years after the urban development project was proposed.

On Monday, Holloway met with a real estate appraiser, and once overgrowth and any debris are cleared, the city will begin marketing the 38 parcels. Holloway envisions professional offices and retail shops with apartments overhead and possibly townhouses.

"Two people are wanting to buy right away," he said, both local developers who lost their buildings in Hurricane Katrina.

With Beau Rivage to the south and IP Casino Resort on the north, Caillavet is well anchored. "We need to fill in the blanks now," said Jerry Creel, Biloxi director of community development. The plan is to create a pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use area that will tie together the casinos on the Back Bay with the Bacaran Bay Casino that will soon be under construction on Caillavet to Beach Boulevard. Development could include restaurants, retail, small museums, street cafes and art galleries, "all along the way," said Creel.

To ensure the area develops as intended, Biloxi's Architectural and Historical Review Commission has agreed to look at all plans and maintain design standards for building or renovation, said Creel. Holloway is hoping other landowners on Caillavet will be motivated to upgrade their properties in line with the new construction.

The acquisition of land took years longer than expected and Biloxi Public Affairs Manager Vincent Creel said, "You always read about the business owners and the difficulty that they had in relocating, but the families were the ones that really benefited from this, because they were coming from the epitome of slum and blight."

In his State of the City address in February, Holloway called the Caillavet Street project, "a perfect example of following through on smart growth. This project helps move traffic in a safe and efficient manner. It's well-landscaped, well-lit and pedestrian-friendly. It creates opportunity for small business people, which creates jobs and enhances our tax base."

Caillavet is one leg of a traffic loop around East Biloxi that includes Bay View, Beach Boulevard and Oak Street. Holloway said the city is hoping to make Pine Street instead of Oak the east side of the loop. "That would open up that east end," he said. "We have money in the budget for the engineering," and Neil-Schaffer has begun the preliminary work. "It's going to take awhile to do that," and will be very expensive but Holloway believes the project will pay off in the long run.

BILOXI --Caillavet Street timeline

1996: Caillavet urban renewal project proposed.

November 1997: Community activists protest Biloxi's plans to relocate homeowners and business owners to widen Caillavet Street.

July 15, 1998: Biloxi Council tables resolution to turn Caillavet into a four-lane boulevard when business owner gets upset at meeting.

February 1999: The city will start buying property around April 1 but it will take about three years to complete the acquisitions.

August 2001: Plans for Caillavet Street are downsized to save $2.8 million, eliminating a service road and simplifying intersections to make them safer.

June 2002: The city unveils plans for the tree-lined boulevard bordered by businesses.

October 2004: The City Council agrees to pay state Sen. Tommy Gollott and his brothers $201,500 for land on Caillavet Street, which had an appraised value of $113,000.

November 2004: Ground is broken on Caillavet Street's transformation into a four-lane boulevard.

August 2005: Work is temporarily suspended after Hurricane Katrina.

May 2007: All four lanes of Caillavet are open.

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caillavet by the numbers

• The city spent $10.5 million to acquire 98 properties and about $9 million to build the road.

• The redevelopment project relocated 39 families and 24 businesses.

• The city has 38 parcels for sale on the east side of Caillavet.

• Properties south of Division have 25-foot frontage on Caillavet. Developers must purchase at least two parcels.

- Vincent Creel, Biloxi public affairs manager
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 9:18 PM
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Vieux Crescente Reconfigures for Casino

Posted on Wed, Sep. 12, 2007
Vieux Crescente may get casino
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI -- A casino is being added to the plans for Vieux Crescente Resort and Marina on the Back Bay.
John Ed Ainsworth, a partner in Sandmark Bay LLP, said Tuesday the casino would be on land adjoining the Vieux Crescente condo towers. "We have from the water's edge all the way back," he said, and the land is already zoned waterfront.

The condo tower is more than half sold and Ainsworth said all those who purchased units have been contacted. "They are all perfectly OK with the project because they see this as a great benefit. It produces a much more attractive project with a casino site attached to it."

Unlike the proposed Tivoli Casino site, this property is already zoned waterfront and the water would be an integral part of the development, Ainsworth said. "We have no issue of these kinds."

The 30-story condo towers are among the highest approved in Biloxi, said Executive Planner Edward Shambra. The developers would still have to take the final plans to the Planning Commission for review and go before the Mississippi Gaming Commission for a license to operate a casino.

The initial plans called for two towers with 27 residential floors, meeting and conference facilities and stone terraces, fountains and gardens with a Mediterranean theme. A 200-slip marina is also planned.

"We're doing a reconfiguration of the project," Ainsworth said, with the casino near the water and added amenities.

"Most of the people that purchase are not locals," said Ainsworth. They come from the Midwest, the East Coast, California and other states and "they are very excited about us adding these products."

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Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 9:22 PM
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Tivoli backer buys big chunk of bank

Posted on Wed, Sep. 12, 2007
Tivoli backer buys big chunk of bank
By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com


BILOXI -- The major investor in the Tivoli Casino project, Tavistock Group, was in the news Tuesday when its principal owner, British billionaire Joseph Lewis, filed documents showing he has become possibly the largest shareholder of Bear Stearns Cos.
According to AP reports, Lewis acquired a 7 percent share in the investment bank for $860.4 million. Bear Stearns' stock fell about 30 percent this summer due to the subprime mortgage fallout and Lewis bought 8.1 million shares over the last month. Lewis is listed by Forbes as the 486th richest person.

Mike Boudreaux, president of Gulf Coast Investment Developers Inc., said Lewis has been to Biloxi and sees opportunity both in the Tivoli and what can be given back to the community.

Daniel Conwill IV, managing partner of Biloxi Capital LLC, which owns the Tivoli site, is close with Lewis. Conwill approached Lewis about backing the $1.2 billion casino, and Boudreaux said, "He was immediately enamored with Biloxi and the opportunity for Tivoli."

Lewis runs the Florida-based Tavistock Group and controls more than 170 companies with holdings in oil, golf communities, manufacturing and other investments.
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2007, 9:25 PM
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BLX or someone...is it possible to throw together a map of the area showing where some of these new projects are in relationship to the main casino area? I wonder about the proximity of all these things but have little knowledge of the area other than my visits to the Beau and IP.
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Old Posted Sep 16, 2007, 8:50 PM
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Biloxi Casino Map

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Originally Posted by Muskavon View Post
BLX or someone...is it possible to throw together a map of the area showing where some of these new projects are in relationship to the main casino area? I wonder about the proximity of all these things but have little knowledge of the area other than my visits to the Beau and IP.
Below are two links with maps of Biloxi, giving casino locations.

http://www.casinocity.com/maps/?Near...tyId=29100#top

http://www.biloxi.ms.us/PDF/condostatus.pdf

The Bacaran Bay Casino Resort is currently relocating a lift station and doing some drainage work at their site on the northern end of Cailavett near the IP--between Percy street and the Bayview and I-110 interchange. You can go to their web site and view the map to get a better idea of the location. Immediately east of Boomtown, is the site of the proposed Back Bay Casino Resort, and property at the northern end of Lee street was rezoned to waterfront within the last two weeks. The Vieux Crescente site is on the Biloxi Back Bay on the western-north end of Oak street, while Grand Biloxi is at the southern end of Oak. You can also get a better idea from their web map. The proposed Tivoli is on the Strip (Beach Blvd) between Hardrock and Grand Biloxi--Holley to Claiborne street. The northern border is Howard Avenue. The new VFW and Biloxi Yacht clubs are being rebuilt and relocated on the north-west and south-west corner of Kuhn street respectively. Just east of the Tivoli site from Hoxie to Oak is the former Lady Luck Casino property which is now owned by Harrah's. There has been no announcements of future plans for this site. I am hopeful that the forty plus-story Casablanca Casino Resort can be built here as a joint venture with Harrah's instead of west Beach Blvd. Of course the Margaritaville Casino Resort is currently under construction from the former Biloxi Grand theater to the Casino Magic site. The Isle of Capri is currently under going a $180 million reconstruction project and they also own most of the water front property from Beach Blvd to the Palace Casino Resort. Plans has yet to be announced for this site. Just north of the Palace at the eastern end of 5th street on the bay, is the site of the previously proposed 18-story Havana Casino Resort which I'm optimistic will be resurrected. An adjacent Venetian Biloxi Casino Resort by Sheldon Adelson(Sands) would make this area very unique and interesting. The city of Biloxi is in the first steps of extending the Casino Loop which will continue the new Back Bay Blvd (four-lanes that runs east of Boomtown to Oak) to Pine street which is parallel to Oak, on the east side of Grand Biloxi. This will open up more water front property for future attractive developments--hopefully some will be non gaming related but family oriented. We should learn within the next several weeks which international company will be developing the two hundred-sixty acre Broadwater Beach property. I'm pulling for Steve Wynn to build the next Wynn Casino Resort in Biloxi.

Last edited by BLX 101; Sep 21, 2007 at 1:28 AM.
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  #58  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2007, 1:44 AM
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Much-awaited Tivoli vote set for Tuesday

By MARY PEREZ
meperez@sunherald.com
Tuesday's vote on rezoning the old Tivoli Hotel property is one of the most important, and controversial, decisions the Biloxi City Council will make since Hurricane Katrina. Yet it becomes less significant if the Mississippi Gaming Commission rules against the property as a legal casino site.

At stake is a $1.2-billion dollar casino development, along with the sand beach and the city's reputation. The meeting is at 1:30 p.m. at City Hall.

"There's no project we're voting on," said Councilman George Lawrence, the lone holdout when the council voted to initiate the process of rezoning the land. Normally a developer or property owner makes the request for a zoning change to the Planning Commission.

Mike Boudreaux, president of GCID Development and one of the principals in Biloxi Capital that owns the Tivoli site, said other projects in the city have received waterfront zoning "with no plans whatsoever." The Planning Commission and the council have approved rezoning land for two or three groups of neighbors in East Biloxi who collectively applied to have their property rezoned WF with the possibility of selling to a casino or condo developer.

The Tivoli site is on nearly 30 acres on the north side of U.S. 90. WF zoning would allow the developers to apply for a casino site and also build residential, commercial and amusements. The Tivoli project could be built minus the casino if the Gaming Commission rules against the site, but Boudreaux said it's the casino that makes the project viable.

He is involved in 10 condo developments and said due to the high cost of land and labor since Katrina, "Things are just not moving now at all."

Boudreaux disputes claims that developers will flip the property if it is rezoned and becomes a legal casino site. "That is the farthest thing from the truth that I've ever heard," he said. He and developer Kenny Lobell originally wanted to renovate the Tivoli into something similar to the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. "That was our vision," Boudreaux said, but Katrina destroyed the hotel and changed the dream.

The developers, including Tavistock Group and its billionaire leader Joseph Lewis, are confident Tivoli is a legal site.

Others in the city are just as sure it isn't. Gen. Clark Griffith, who chaired the Reviving the Renaissance Committee for the city, brought maps and documents to last week's Council meeting. He said they illustrate what the city presented to the state Legislature when it was considering House Bill 45 to allow onshore casinos after the hurricane. It showed the land that was already zoned or proposed WF. "The Tivoli project is not included," and he said, "Surely this rezoning is not worth the integrity of our city."

least six state legislators attended the public hearing on the Tivoli rezoning and three - state Reps. Randall Patterson, D-Biloxi, Danny Guice Jr., R-Ocean Springs, and Michael Janus, R-Biloxi - were at the last council meeting. Guice said while he loves the jobs and taxes the casino would generate, he fears the consequences expanding zoning might cause in the Legislature, which rarely allows casinos onshore.

Rep. Bobby Moak, chairman of the House Gaming Committee, previously indicated he would attend a council meeting on the Tivoli project.

"They stood up for us," Lawrence said of the state lawmakers. "We're double-crossing them."

In a July 11 letter, Mississippi Gaming Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pé and Executive Director Larry Gregory reminded the council and mayor that even if the city rezones the Tivoli site, the MGC will determine if it is a legal location for a casino.

"The Mississippi Gaming Commission is particularly sensitive to the importance of reinvestment and redevelopment along the Biloxi beachfront, particularly East Biloxi," they wrote. "We recognize the burden of the mayor and City Council carry to sponsor activities which may lead to such development. At the same time, we must protect the overall well-being of the industry and maintain public confidence."



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Council vote

During the first reading of the resolution to rezone the Tivoli site to waterfront last Tuesday, the council voted 4-3 against removing it from the agenda.

These are the council members' positions on the Tivoli:

David Fayard - Voted for the public hearing but said he probably wouldn't support rezoning the land. He voted for dropping it from the agenda

Tom Wall - He spoke in favor of the benefits of the project, but when the city's honor and reputation were questioned, he asked that the rezoning be removed from the agenda.

Mike Fitzpatrick - He went to groups all over Biloxi touting the casino plan and the benefits to the city. He has taken hits for that from residents who objected to his working on behalf of the developers when he should be working for the city. He voted for the rezoning to stay on the agenda.

President Ed Gemmill - He said at the last meeting he was anxious to hear from the people in attendance and how they felt about the rezoning. His could be the swing vote, as it so often is, and he studies the merits and shortfalls of each project. He voted to keep the proposal on the agenda last week.

Charles Harrison - He has supported the project and last week was impatient with anyone who spoke against it. He voted to keep the rezoning on the agenda.

Bill Stallworth - He said his vote for the hearing on rezoning wasn't necessarily his support of the project. He did vote to keep it on the agenda.

George Lawrence - He was against Tivoli in his ward from the start and continues to oppose expanding gambling north of the sand beach. He voted to take the proposal off the agenda.

Mayor A. J. Holloway - He has veto power over the vote. He has said he didn't want to get between the Gaming Commission and Legislature.

- MARY PEREZ


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  #59  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 1:45 AM
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Tivoli Gets Rezoning Vote

Biloxi city council rezoned Tivoli property today!

Last edited by BLX 101; Sep 21, 2007 at 1:07 AM.
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  #60  
Old Posted Sep 19, 2007, 5:09 AM
Velastor Velastor is offline
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I stumbled on to this tread today while searching google to see which condos have started construction.

I've been more interested in the Mississippi Gulf Coast since Katrina hit because I like watching the area rebuild and hopefully one day when I'm old enough I will gamble....20 more months .

Anyway in all of my google searching, behold the power of google, I have read anything about Casablanca Casino Resort, other than that small bit on the biloxi.ms.us site, or the Venetian Biloxi Casino Resort.

Also, since you seem to know a lot about whats going on BLX, what do you know of the 2 proposed casinos in D'Iberville?

Another thing that gets me, why do people complain about a casino being build in front of the beaches? Condos get built in front of them and it is hampering people get on the beach, although that water does a good enough job keeping me off the beaches,. The only real beaches Mississippi has is on the barrier islands.

The suggestion for them to move the property might would work, but it would be hard for them to find an area this large without having someone refuse to sell or end up having to fill in to make the area perfectly square. The other downside to moving the resort is the view. More people will drive down US 90 and see the resort than they will if they stick it along one of the 2 lane roads near Backbay.

Last thing, its so funny watching all the rendered videos of condos and casino and see the perfectly "White" beaches and "crystal blue" water. I almost fill sorry for people that watch these then come for the beaches.
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