Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riverfront Development Takes Hit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Riverfront Development Takes Hit

Article excerpt

The Gateway Casino group says it probably can't deliver all of the $210 million development package it promised for the St. Louis riverfront unless Missouri voters change their minds about riverfront gambling.

The Gateway group, a partnership of Caesars World Inc. and Casino Magic Corp., emerged from a competition with five other groups in January as front-runner for a lease to put gambling boats at Laclede's Landing.

As part of the competition, Gateway proposed some land developments including:

A 976-room convention hotel.

A 1,340-car parking garage.

An elevated, enclosed moving sidewalk to link the floating casinos, a floating entertainment center, the hotel and the Cervantes Convention Center.

Jack Leone, a spokesman at Caesar's World in Los Angeles, said that when Missouri voters spoke Tuesday, they put a big crimp in Gateway's original proposal.

"Our presentation to the city was predicated on having a full casino gambling operation," he said. "But now, the whole situation has changed.

"It is not likely we could do our original proposal" unless unrestricted gambling is allowed, Leone said, "so we will have to re-evaluate everything, including the hotel."

Mary Jost, a spokeswoman for the group in St. Louis, said Gateway is still negotiating the lease with the city of St. Louis, without having decided if it would open a boat with restricted gambling. "We would make that decision later," she said.

St. Louis development officials had been counting on revenue from Gateway and gambling boats elsewhere on the riverfront to help pay for an extensive riverfront development plan finished just last month.

The plan, which could cost as much as $250 million, would dramatically expand the riverfront to accommodate gamblers, convention-goers, tourists and residents alike.

Included among the many proposed attractions and improvements are an aquarium, more parks, a marina, outdoor amphitheater, and a two-level promenade running the length of the riverfront, from Chouteau's Landing northward to Riverside, just north of Laclede's Landing. …

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