About 60 local contractors attended an informational session today with Isle of Capri executives to discuss potential construction opportunities.
If voters approve casino gaming in Cape Girardeau on Tuesday and if the Missouri Gaming Commission awards the city its final 13th license, local contractors will be the first ones involved with the casino project, said Richard Meister, vice-president of construction at Isle of Capri.
He said Isle is committed to using local contractors and that the Cape area has many experienced firms with the know-how needed for the $125 million project.
"There are a lot of similarities between our building and the hospital construction projects going on here now," Meister said.
Isle will also be looking specifically for women and minority owned businesses to contract with, he said.
The project architect Peter Maruska and interior designer Linda Ellsworth of Kuhlmann Design Group, Inc., in St. Louis, also spoke to contractors.
Representatives of local construction companies at the meeting said they are excited about the opportunity to taking part in the casino construction project, if it moves forward.
"We are especially looking forward to it given our current economic conditions," said Billy Gage, sales manager with Kasten Masonry Sales, Inc.
Kasten provided the brick for Isle of Capri's recent renovation of its Caruthersville, Mo., Lady Luck casino in 2008.
"This project is huge. The new Cape Central High School is less than half the size of this project and that was taxpayer funded. This is all private money and it will be a revenue generator," Gage said.
Southeast Missourian reporter Scott Moyers recently blogged about other recent construction projects and their costs: http://www.semissourian.com/blogs/1565/
The project would create at least 400 on-site construction jobs, Meister said.
Once the project is authorized by the Missouri Gaming Commission, he said the first advertisement for bids should be released within three months. The first step in the construction process will be the relocation of Main Street, he said.
The entire construction process is expected to take 24 months to complete, so if the project gets the green light by December, their target would be to open New Years Eve of 2012.