Lane Company meets privately

Published 1:16 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

NATCHEZ — A company looking to install a casino boat along the river met with city officials Friday to discuss possibilities.

The private meeting was a brainstorming session to get feedback and input from local officials, said John Bell, southeast regional development president at Lane Company.

“We’re so close to it being a reality,” Bell said.

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Lane Company won the bid to rent city-owned land on Roth Hill Road, below the bluffs, and build a casino and park there.

Natchez Enterprises, LLC, a division of Lane, and the city have not yet signed a lease contract.

It might be a matter of months before the contract is signed, West said.

The meeting included slides of drawings of what the end product might look like, Mayor Phillip West said.

“They just showed us where they were, the status of where they were in the process and where they were going,” West said. “I was extremely pleased, very satisfied. Conceptually, what they are choosing to do will fit in well with the integrity of the city.”

Natchez Enterprises still had to get permission from various state and local agencies, West said.

No votes were taken, and no decisions were made, West said.

Lane will release more specifics about the casino and park’s appearance soon, Bell said.

For now, Natchez Enterprises has signed an option agreement with the city, which allows only that company to buy the land.

Under the agreement, the company has until January to reserve the 5.3 acres of land.

If the company doesn’t sign a contract promising to build, they must pay the city $100,000.

According to the agreement, if Natchez Enterprises signs a lease with the city, they will have the land for 50 years.

The company would pay the city $1 million in rent or 4.5 percent of their gross gaming revenue each year.