Hemingway developer not giving up on Gulfport project - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Hemingway developer not giving up on Gulfport project

Posted: Updated:
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The man behind the Hemingway Casino project in Gulfport says his company has the money it needs to build a $130 million resort next to Jones Park. What John Paulson's group couldn't get was a 20 day extension from the Mississippi Gaming Commission to finalize its financing deal, and that's not sitting well with the group.

"It's disappointing," Paulson said to WLOX News a day after the deadline passed. "The commission came back and said they were unwilling to hear that request."

Paulson said his company secured full funding two weeks ago for what was supposed to be a casino, a 205 room hotel and three restaurants. But, the final papers haven't been signed. He thought that would be enough to meet the gaming commission's April 1 financing deadline.

"All the financing is here. Everything is ready to go," said Paulson.

Back in December, the gaming commission set the April 1 deadline, giving Paulson's team three months to get its financing lined up. If it did, it could build a smaller resort in stages.

By missing the deadline, the Hemingway project must meet the Mississippi Gaming Commission's new regulations. The casino must be larger. The hotel must have more rooms. In other words, more must be invested in the project up front.

In Hemingway's case, more means another 100 hotel rooms, and a parking garage must be added to the development, both in phase one. It's an investment of as much as $30 million on top of the $130 million Paulson's group said it secured.

"We're just going to continue to reach out to the commission and see what we can do," Paulson said. "Right now, we're at their mercy. We're 100 percent doing Gulfport. We love the project. We want to see the project happen. We believe in the community. It's a great project."

John Hairston with the Mississippi Gaming Commission said the 20 day extension wasn't granted because two primary stipulations were not met by the developer: Financing had to be complete, and multiple, past due debts had to be paid.

"We had every intention of standing by our approval, if Rotate Black stood by their commitments. Regrettably, they would not or could not do so," Hairston told WLOX News.

"Those stipulations were made crystal clear in a public meeting held in the Gulfport City Council chambers, because the Mississippi Gaming Commission wanted it very clear, publicly clear, that the ball was in Rotate Black's court to deliver on commitments made in that meeting," Hairston said.

Gaming commissioners want to see a casino on the nine-and-a-half acre site next to Jones Park.

"I hope someone will step forward with the financial wherewithal to build a casino resort at this excellent site," Hairston said. "The Mississippi Gaming Commission would be pleased to consider an application from Rotate Black or any other applicant to build a casino resort at the Gulfport Harbor, compliant with 2014 Gaming Regulations."

Paulson wants to be that developer.

"We're bullish on the market," Paulson said. "And we think a 20 day extension isn't unreasonable."

Copyright 2014 WLOX. All rights reserved. 

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Two teens charged with Gulfport man's murder

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:00:30 GMT
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die.More >>
    Two Gulfport teens are charged with murder after police say they shot Lamont Hayes in his home last week and left him to die. Monday night, investigators tracked down Jalen Shaquille Williams, 19, and arrested him at his home. Rashad Rejohn Johnson, 17, was arrested Monday at the Harrison County Juvenile Detention Facility, where he was being held on an unrelated charge.More >>
  • Two more Singing River Health System clinics set to close

    Two more Singing River Health System clinics set to close

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 9:10 PM EDT2014-07-30 01:10:42 GMT
    Singing River Health System has announced the closure of two more primary care clinics as part of a realignment program. The Gautier and D'Iberville facilities will close August 29.
    More >>
    We will rebound. That's Singing River Health System CEO Kevin Holland's response to the announcement that two clinics are closing in South Mississippi. Those facilities are in Gautier and D'Iberville. Holland said it's also unfortunate that several people will lose their jobs because of the closings.More >>
  • Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Coroner: Gulfport murder victim was shot in the groin

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-24 10:54:09 GMT
    According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later Tuesday night.More >>
    An area of Gulfport still reeling from the brutal murder of a child last week was hit with another violent death Tuesday night. According to Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove, Lamont Hayes, 41, was shot in the groin area and bled to death just a few hours later.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.