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 President Casino St. Louis Riverfront Purchased
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS (Source: Pnkinc.com)
Tue, Feb 28th, 2006 8:21 pm

In the latest twist to the St. Louis Casino soap opera, Pinnacle Entertainment (NYSE: PNK) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with President Casinos, Inc. to purchase all of the outstanding stock of the President Casino St. Louis Riverfront, for approximately $31.5 million.

So, the President Casino, a longtime fixture in downtown St. Louis, may finally be sold...

Of course this purchase agreement isn't a done deal yet.  It still has to be submitted to the United States Bankruptcy Court and approved by the Missouri Gaming Commission. Target date for the bankruptcy auction is May 16, 2006.

The President Casino has sit next to the Arch Grounds in Downtown St. Louis on the Missouri side of the Mississippi Riverfront for as long as the Arch itself has been around. It was once a dining cruise ship before having its engines removed to make way for approximately 1,025 slot machines and 30 table games. It is located within walking distance of the Laclede's Landing historic district.

President Casino is also located within walking distance to Pinnacle Entertainment's $400 million casino and 200-room hotel and convention center which broke ground last fall and is slated to open in 2007.

The two casinos have been at odds with each other over the past year.  As part of their downtown redevelopment commitment, Pinnacle announced plans to build luxury condominiums in Laclede's Landing on the Mississippi riverfront.  Naturally it was a project that required the condemnation and demolition of a parking garage used almost exclusively by the customers of rival President Casino.

President Casino went to court to stop the city from condemning the parking garage arguing that the loss of the garage would put them out of business.  As the battle lines were being drawn, a third casino operator, Columbia Sussex Corp. of Kentucky, stepped in with what they thought was a win-win solution.  Columbia Sussex, who desired to purchase President Casino, bought the parking garage and offered to give it to the city in trade for an empty lot next to President Casio where they could build a larger, more modern parking garage.  All sides appeared happy until the Missouri Gaming Commission announced that they would probably deny Columbia Sussex a gaming license in the state of Missouri.

This left Columbia Sussex as the owner of a parking garage they no longer wanted but couldn't sell thanks to the legal action between President Casino and the City of St. Louis.

In December, in an apparent attempt to force President Casino to either buy the garage or let the city move forward with condemnation, Columbia Sussex raised the fee to park in the garage from $1.50 per car to $25 per car- all but shutting the garage down to President Casino customers.

Earlier this month a federal bankruptcy judge issued a temporary restraining order reinstating the $1.50 parking rate, reopening the parking garage to casino patrons.

If approved, Pinnacle Entertainment will have three casino operations in the St. Louis region.  In November 2005 ground was broke on the $375 million River City Casino & Hotel in the South St. Louis County community of Lemay. The project has an expected opening date in 2008.

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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