Arundel Mills casino developer considers temporary structure
The developers of Maryland's largest planned slots casino said Wednesday that the company is aggressively exploring the possibility of opening a temporary facility next year while a permanent structure is built at Arundel Mills mall.
The move would start generating revenue for both the state and Cordish Cos., the project's developer, well before a planned 2012 opening of the 4,750-machine casino in a building across from the mall's food court.
Cordish representatives shared their plans with reporters Thursday morning, two days after Anne Arundel County voters approved a zoning measure needed for the casino to move forward.
"We will explore a temporary facility," said Davis S. Cordish, chairman of the company. "The logistics will be, 'Can you do both at the same time?'"
Joe Weinberg, president of Cordish, said the company has opened temporary facilities first at casinos it developed previously in Florida and Indiana. He said the temporary buildings there were constructed in about five months. The permanent Maryland Live! casino planned at Arundel Mills is expected to take about 14 months to build.
Both Cordish and Weinberg stressed that no decisions have been made and were reluctant to give specific timetables, saying they have only started the process of talking to state and county officials following passage of the ballot measure.
Weinberg said "a pretty good estimate" of the number of slot machines that would be housed in a temporary facility is about half the 4,750 authorized for the permanent location.
"When you walk into it, you really wouldn't know you're in a temporary facility," he said.
Cordish also said his company would be interested in buying Laurel Park race track if its owners follow through on plans announced Wednesday to halt living racing.
The track owners had been poised to make a bit for a slots license at the track if voters rejected zoning for the mall casino.
"This is a time when Maryland horse racing, in the right hands, could and should be flourishing," Cordish said.
| November 4, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories: 2010 Elections, John Wagner, Slots
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