Pinnacle to start casino

Published 11:55 pm Sunday, March 2, 2008

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — Pinnacle Entertainment Inc. plans to begin construction of its $350 million Sugarcane Bay riverboat casino resort in Lake Charles this summer.

‘‘That has always been our goal to get this under way in the next couple of months and get this open in 2009,’’ Pinnacle president Wade Hundley said Friday. ‘‘It’s a great development for us. We are really excited. You can see what we have created here, and we really think we can capitalize on that with Sugarcane Bay.’’

Hundley made the comments after company officials unveiled hotel and retail additions to L’Auberge du Lac, Pinnacle’s existing resort in Lake Charles.

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Pinnacle plans to build Sugarcane Bay next to the existing complex. The proposed tropical-themed casino will feature a 400-room hotel, a one-story, 30,000-square-foot riverboat casino, numerous restaurants, an arena and a golf course.

Hundley said he hopes to get final approval to begin construction from the Louisiana Gaming Control Board later this month. Hundley said that following board approval, Pinnacle would have 30 days to break ground and begin construction.

Pinnacle will build Sugarcane Bay before its proposed Baton Rouge casino-hotel, which still needs zoning and other permits before it can go forward, Hundley said.

The company obtained licenses for the second Lake Charles project and the Baton Rouge casino from Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., which decided not to reopen its two-boat gambling complex in the city after Hurricane Katrina.

Pinnacle has plans for the Harrah’s old hotel and parking garage, Hundley said.

‘‘We are going to clean it up. We may take down the parking garage relatively soon. But in terms of the hotel itself and what we are going to do with that, we are still evaluating alternatives,’’ he said.


Information from: American Press,