Casino sees delays

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 16, 2008

NATCHEZ — The Roth Hill casino project’s approval from the Mississippi Gaming Commission to proceed with the development has expired.

Mississippi Gaming Commission Deputy Director Allen Godfrey said the developer Natchez Enterprises had six months to submit the project’s financial documents and never did.

“They never got them in order so that approval expired,” Godfrey said.

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For the Lane Company, this means no construction work can begin until the commission’s approval is given.

Natchez Enterprises President Ted Doody said this is because for the last 90 to 120 plans for the project have been reworked.

Due to flooding earlier this year, the low-lying base of Roth Hill Road was covered in water.

To avoid any potential problems with flooding in the future, Doody said plans were being modified to prevent that.

“We had to let our approval expire because we changed our designs,” he said.

The plan is to submit the financial documents for the October commission meeting.

Godfrey said while approval expiration isn’t entirely uncommon, the commission finds mostly that developers want to move as expediently as possibly on projects.

The Mississippi Gaming Commisison approval isn’t the only one that will have to be once more attained, Doody said.

City approval is necessary because of the changes made.

One such change in plans is scaling the project down from a two-story building to a one-story building.

Doody said the project is still the same but they created efficiencies in the building’s space.

He said the building was originally drawn out to be 50,000 square feet but has been reduced to approximately 42,000 square feet.

He said removing the second floor is actually more beneficial.

“(It) lends itself to a better casino layout,” Doody said. “It’s a more enjoyable experience for guests because they don’t have to go up and down.”

He said as planning wraps up, new renderings of the design will be released in a few weeks.