No wasting away when it comes to building Margaritaville - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

No wasting away when it comes to building Margaritaville

On a 3-0 vote by the state gaming commission, plans for a $50 million casino near Point Cadet are in full swing. 

The man who made the laid back style a source of pride was there himself, speaking to commissioners.  

Jimmy Buffett said he feels the approval of Margaritaville means he's coming home to his roots.

 "It's great to be in the company of people who for a long time have thought that this was a little more than a song. And to bring it back to where I started professionally and I think everyone is going to enjoy what we do," Buffett said.

Commissioner John Hairston expressed doubts about the project, but voted yes for a single reason.

"The power of the Margaritaville brand will overcome the challenges from the size of the casino being so small and the end result will be a bigger pie. More revenue for the schools, more revenue for the state, more jobs," Hairston said.

The president of the casino company, John Cohlan, agreed.  

"I think we're going to do what we've done everywhere else," Cohlan said.  "We're a great destination brand and we're about bringing people to locations and giving them a great experience and I think we're going to just be who we are and it will speak for itself." 

At $50 million, this project is substantially smaller than past casino projects, but the days of half billion dollar projects are over, thanks to the recession.

According to Commission Chairman Jerry St. Pe', "you just couldn't look at the dollar value of this project." 

St. Pe' said you have to look beyond that.

 "You had to look at the branding that's associated with Margaritaville and then you had to look at the potential going forward," St. Pe' said.

And going forward to the stage on opening day is on Jimmy Buffett's calendar.  

"Well I have opened most of them so I take that as a yes," St. Pe' said.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly