July 22, 2008

Harrah’s: Margaritaville Casino Construction Slowing

By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

Jul. 22--BILOXI -- Harrah's Entertainment says it's not stopping work on the Margaritaville Casino project, just slowing it down.

Rumors swirling around Biloxi had placed a cloud over the massive construction work adjacent to the Grand Casino Biloxi.

"Over the next few weeks, residents of Biloxi will notice less activity and fewer workers at the Margaritaville work site," said Marybel Batjer, vice president of communications, in an e-mailed statement. "Rest assured that Harrah's is NOT canceling the project. We still believe in the Margaritaville concept, and we remain committed to our vision for the property. This is a project that we studied extensively, and we believe that it still has a great potential to benefit the Biloxi market and our company.

"We simply need to adjust the plan for the development to better align with the economic environment, market conditions on the Gulf Coast and the current financing environment."

The project was announced in May 2007, with completion targeted in 2010. Harrah's said the first phase would cost $700 million, with two additional phases that could push the price tag over $1 billion.

The resort, as originally announced, would have a 420-room hotel plus the restoration of 378 rooms at the former Casino Magic Biloxi, along with 100,000 square feet of casino space.

Margaritaville is a brand of Jimmy Buffet, the Pascagoula native who has achieved superstardom in the entertainment world.

Check back at SunHerald.com for further updates.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.

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