Oyster Bay Casino gets a new lease on life

D'IBERVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The D'Iberville City Council has voted to give the developers of the proposed Oyster Bay Casino five days to sign a new lease agreement for use of some city owned property.

The old lease expired earlier this year. Officials with the Pivotal Group say they will sign and have already paid the city an additional $25,000 on the new lease.

Company officials with the Pivotal Group were bullish about their casino at Monday's special council meeting.

"We are moving forward and we do want to work with the city and we do want to work with the property owners and to be realistic, with the economy we have today, we have a good shot right now," explained Tom Moore, the vice president of the company.

Those property owners were not nearly as optimistic, saying the promise to buy their properties to make way for the casino have been empty promises. Suzi Burdine is one of them.

"I just feel like we need to get the ball rolling and if he can prove that he does have the funding to put us under contract today, with earnest money today," Burdine said. "I think everybody in the crowd would sign the contract."

"Every time we meet, it's a different story, and I don't know if Mr. Lewis is aware of all the different stories that we've been told," said Ginger Fountain, another one of these property owners.

According to Mayor Rusty Quave, new doors may be opened with a new lease agreement.

"I think it gives the developer an opportunity to come back and speak with the landowners and if they can renegotiate their prices and the developer approves them, then they could be on a track, a fast track," said Quave.

Officials with the Pivotal Group say another big change is on the way. There are plans to rename the Oyster Bay Casino with something they promise to be an exciting new name that will be announced within the next couple of weeks.

For a city that's been pursuing a casino for the last 20 years, the mayor is cautiously optimistic this one may actually come into play.

"It's a good site. They have site approval from the gaming commission. Like the developer said, they've put about a million and a half dollars of their own money in the project and they're working real hard. We just have to wait and see what happens," Quave said.

Anything happening would be considered a good sign. As part of the lease agreement with the city, the company must acquire all individual properties by the end of the year, or the lease is terminated.

Officials with the Pivotal Group say they are working on getting the financing for the casino firmed up. It would be a $184 million project with a 40,000 square foot casino, along with a hotel tower with almost 300 rooms. Also included in the plans are a shopping plaza and some type of family friendly attraction.

They hope to present the plans to the Mississippi Gaming Commission by the end of the year.

Copyright 2013 WLOX. All rights reserved.