Developer seeks to buy casino hotel

By The Associated Press

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — A New Orleans developer says he has offered to buy the Grand Station Hotel.

The Vicksburg Post reports that Kenneth W. Bickford, president of Chappapeela Development Corp., said the Grand Station Hotel will be bought from M Street Inc., which owns the 117-room facility and holds the adjacent Grand Station Casino’s docking permits. The hotel connects to downtown Vicksburg and the casino, which is currently mired in foreclosure proceedings.

Bickford said in a news release that his plans are to create a luxury condominium hotel and marina resort.

Bickford said the existing hotel, completed with the casino by Harrah’s in 1993 as Vicksburg’s second gaming hall and the state’s first casino-hotel tandem, will be refurbished into a 70-unit condo complex complemented by retail space, restaurants, a bar, a lobby, a spa, a marina, tennis courts and a resort pool.

Bally Gaming Inc. is foreclosing on the casino for $3 million owed for equipment inside the 36,000-square-foot facility. The foreclosure auction is March 26 house unless the Las Vegas-based gaming device maker and casino owner Delta Investments and Development resolve the debt.

Mickey Fedell, Grand Station marketing director, said the casino and hotel are separate entities.

Any firm interested in buying an existing casino or developing one in Mississippi along the Mississippi River or Gulf of Mexico must apply for a license from the Mississippi Gaming Commission.

No firm has applied for a new license to operate Grand Station Casino, said executive director Allen Godfrey, who said the fate of the casino hinges on the foreclosure sale.

“It’s really up to them what happens,” Godfrey said.

Harrah’s sold the facility in 2003 for $28.6 million to Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex, which renamed the casino Horizon. Tropicana Entertainment, which had been part of Columbia Sussex, took over Horizon operations and, in 2007, the firm had agreed to sell the casino to Nevada Gold and Casinos for about $35 million until the deal fell through a year later.

In 2010, Delta bought the hotel and casino for $3.25 million in cash plus liabilities.