New Casino Acquiring East Biloxi Land - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

05/12/05

New Casino Acquiring East Biloxi Land

Virtually non-stop Myrtle Street traffic has finally gotten to the homeowners caught between the Palace Casino and Casino Row. According to one property owner, they're ready for another casino to put this aging block of homes out of its misery.

For a decade, the area between Myrtle Street, First Street, Cadet Street and Howard Avenue has been marketed as a potential casino site. Now, homeowners have confirmed that they just signed initial agreements to sell 25 of the properties to what they call a major casino developer.

WLOX News just learned the developer is the Ameristar Casino group.

The only holdout in the neighborhood is 88-year-old Marguerite Mihijevich. Off camera, she told me her $284,000 offer wasn't worth giving up a home filled with 70 years of wonderful memories.

So, if they want to build a casino around her, Mrs. Mihijevich said that's fine. Right now, she has no intention of packing up and moving.

Neither does the Slavic Benevolent Association. It's lodge sits on the southwest corner of the block. But the group's president said it never received an offer to sell, in part because members made it clear, they don't want to leave the Point Cadet neighborhood.

If this deal comes together, the new casino would dock along city property currently being used by Isle of Capri employees. The Isle's lease with Biloxi gives it first right of refusal on any Point Cadet project.

There are differing opinions about whether the right impacts this project.

It should be noted that Biloxi's planning department hasn't been briefed yet about a potential casino project immediately behind Point Cadet Plaza.

Ameristar would not talk specifically about the east Biloxi site. However, its spokesman did confirm that Ameristar is "certainly considering" a move to Biloxi.

According to public relations manager Kathy Callahan, "There may be some opportunities to grow the Biloxi market by bringing in an Ameristar facility."

Ameristar has six casinos, including one in Vicksburg.

by Brad Kessie

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