Isle of Capri pushes up opening date for Cape Girardeau casino

Friday, June 8, 2012
Construction continues at the Isle of Capri casino site Thursday, June 7, 2012 in Cape Girardeau. The opening date of the casino has been pushed up two months and is now slated to open on November 1. (Laura Simon)

Isle of Capri has moved up the opening date for its Cape Girardeau casino, announcing it will open by Nov. 1, pending regulatory approval. That's two months ahead of its initial schedule to open at the end of 2012.

This is the second time the opening has been pushed up by casino officials. In February as the final steel beam was put into place, CEO Virginia McDowell had said the casino would open by Thanksgiving.

The budget for the project has also been increased by $10 million for a total of $135 million, said Isle spokeswoman Jill Alexander.

The increase is due to a variety of issues but mainly related to infrastructure costs, Alexander said.

Isle updated investors on its Cape Girardeau casino progress as it released its quarterly and year-end earnings report Thursday morning.

Work on the Broadway corridor reconstruction project is also ahead of schedule, city engineer Casey Brunke said. Currently work on Broadway has closed the street from Spanish to Fountain streets. Roadwork is finished from Water to Spanish streets.

"They've opened every intersection ahead of schedule so far; as long as nothing significant happens, I can continue to see that trend proceeding that way," Brunke said.

Under the city's contract with Fronabarger Concreters Inc. of Oak Ridge, work on the Broadway corridor must be substantially completed by Nov. 5.

"Right now, we're about a week ahead of where we originally thought we would be," Brunke said. Most intersections have opened about three days ahead of schedule, she said.

While the paving and sidewalk work will be done by November, the landscaping will come later, Brunke said.

"They have until April 1 to put the landscaping in because we really want them focused on getting all of the concrete and asphalt work done," she said.

Better quality plants will be available in the spring as well, she said. The landscaped areas will be maintained by the city once they are planted.

"We very much anticipate them having it open by the Nov. 5 deadline, but there won't be any plants there at that time."

The city will spend $4.5 million on revamping Broadway from Water to Pacific streets. Once the casino is open, the city expects to receive about $3 million annually in revenue from a combination of admissions and revenue taxes.

Council members have been discussing plans for how the new revenue will be spent, city manager Scott Meyer said. Plans will be finalized in the coming months, he said.

During the fourth quarter Isle spent $19 million in capital expenses related to Cape Girardeau construction, said Dale Black, Isle's chief financial officer, during a conference call Thursday morning. During the past fiscal year, Isle spent just under $35 million on the Cape Girardeau casino project, he said.

For several weeks now, Isle has been posting job openings on its website, http://www.islecorp.com/careers-jobs.asp.... The company has also opened a business office in the Marquette building on Broadway.

Additional announcements about hiring will be made next week, Alexander said.

In Cape Girardeau, Isle is expected to employ more than 450 people.

The casino complex will offer 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, several restaurants and a 750-seat entertainment complex.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

777 N. Main St., Cape Girardeau, MO

338 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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