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Permanent Hotel may not be Ready for Super Bowl


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Greektown Casino partner warns time is running out

Permanent complex may miss Super Bowl

December 23, 2003



A local partner in Detroit's Greektown Casino said Monday that the casino is "already past the drop-dead date" for starting its permanent location in time to host visitors during the Super Bowl in 2006.

But Marvin Beatty, a partner in the casino, said the new casino and its 400-room hotel might still be ready in time for the Super Bowl in February 2006 if the City Council gives its final approvals to the plans as soon as possible.

Also necessary, Beatty said, is for the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to bless Greektown's $39.5-million settlement with the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, who have been challenging the city's awarding of three casino licenses.

Although construction should have started by now to meet the Super Bowl deadline, Beatty said, the time could be made up if the council and federal court clear away further objections. "Our commitment level exceeds the drop-dead date," he said.

Detroit's Super Bowl planners have said they weren't planning on having new casinos and their hotels on line for the 2006 game. But having them ready would give Detroit a big-league entertainment asset when 100,000 visitors are in town for the game.

Plans call for the new Greektown Casino to rise along I-375, not far from its current site.

Beatty's comments came during a news conference meant to clear the air -- but might have confused matters more -- over recent developments in southeastern Michigan's gaming industry.

Recently the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, which owns more than 90 percent of Greektown Casino, proposed building a new casino in Romulus not far from Detroit Metro Airport. Detroit officials objected, saying any new casino in the suburbs would pull patrons and dollars away from Detroit's three downtown casinos.

Monday, Beatty and two other local partners, Arthur Blackwell and Chris Jackson, said they, too, object to the Sault group's attempts to build a new casino in the suburbs.

"We'll fight it vigorously," Blackwell said. "We don't want our stock devalued."

The objections of Greektown's local partners thus pits some of the owners of Greektown against their majority partners. What effect if any that would have on the Sault group's efforts in Romulus was unclear.

More critical, at least from a timing aspect, was getting final clearances to start construction on the permanent casino. The City Council, which is on recess, must give final approvals for the new facility. Council members also want a role in reviewing the negotiated settlement with the Lac Vieux tribe, even though Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick said the council has no role in overseeing the deal.

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or [email protected].

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Yea, but it's still not as bad as Flint or Detroit....

Flint elected a mayor who didn't graduate high school, is an ex-convict, and a multimillionaire businessman. There's some strange things going on over at city hall. He wants to buy GM factories with city money. He also wants to fire all the city employees and replace them with his friends. I'm not exactly sure how that'll work. Heck, I'm not even sure how he got elected mayor in the first place!

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