Casino prepares to lease Roth Hill site from city

Published 11:31 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NATCHEZ — Roth Hill casino developers are still working to formally lease its development’s land from the city.

Natchez Enterprises President Ted Doody said the lease should official in a month.

“Then we will take steps over the summer to finalize plans and move to construction,” he said. “But we still don’t have a defined time for that.”

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The development took a few backward steps when a casino redesign was decided upon in September.

Doody said the project has been scaled back from a two-story to a one-story building — an overall 8,000 square foot reduction.

With the design changes, the project will have to be re-approved by the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

The casino had already gotten the site approval, which is for the general development plan.

The next step was to get the project’s site development plan approval, which delves into the more specifics of the project, such as where the money is coming from and how the money will be spent.

“Then the site development plan approval is the second step when the gaming commission takes a closer look at the usage of funds and sources of funds,” Doody said. “We previously attained the site approval plan approval but surrendered that approval when we made the design changes.”

Work continues on the casino’s design, he said.

Aside from the square footage and building level changes, Doody said a 70-foot bar has been added that “will have a full panoramic vista of the (Mississippi) River,” which could incorporate a piano bar.

A buffet and seated restaurant is still in the works, as well as outdoor seating with fire pits.

Plans to build a park with walkways, gardens and water features have not changed, he said.

The entire project is estimated to cost approximately $50 million.

Doody said being cautious in moving forward with a project is pertinent.

“Taking your time at the front end of the project leads to a higher probability of long-term success,” he said.