GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Developers of the Hemingway Resort and Casino expect their gamble in Gulfport to start paying dividends next month. A spokesman says construction plans are far enough along, the company will likely start pushing dirt in December.
"Everybody is on the same page now," Hemingway spokesman Jake Vanderlei said. "We're very, very close."
Hemingway is the $120 million casino project adjacent to Jones Park and the Gulfport Small Craft Harbor. When developers pitched their plans to the Gulfport Planning Commission in September, they said the Hemingway name would stand out.
"It makes us different," company executive Dual Cooper said two months ago. "It's easy just to put up rooms, and a front desk and a bar and this or that and a casino and say this is what we have. We're not going to be there."
Gulfport is banking on Hemingway. The city included a monthly casino lease payment in its current budget.
"The lease is going to provide revenue for the city of Gulfport, the gaming and gaming taxes will provide revenue to Gulfport," Councilman Rusty Walker said at an August meeting where Hemingway unveiled its plans.
The casino and its 205 room hotel are supposed to open about 14 months after construction begins.