A showdown is looming over the proposed South Beach ÂÃ‚ÂCasino at Trop and Industrial.
Marvin Lipschultz’s plan to blow out the walls of the Golden Palm Casino and add a 24-story timeshare tower has run into opposition from Station Casinos and MGM Mirage. Citing concerns over traffic and congestion, the two gaming giants stalled the project at the County Commission last week.
Commissioners directed the two sides to take a 30-day timeout to talk through the issues before casting an April 3 vote.Â
Lipschultz tells GamingToday
he’s committed to moving forward. “I don’t understand why these lawyers
are objecting when no laws have been broken. Besides, they don’t know anything
about zoning,’’ he said.
The casino project has
cleared all administrative hurdles, with county officials recommending
Greg Borgel, planning consultant for the art deco-themed
resort, said the commission’s delay reflected a desire to keep the industry
from “fighting.” The stakes apparently are so high that Commission Chairman
Dario Herrera quickly left the chambers
before the discussion began and returned immediately after the delay was
approved. He did not comment on the proceedings.
Borgel maintains that
Lipschultz’s plan for the three-acre parcel is appropriate ”” and that the
opposition smacks of self-interest.
“If they want us to stay second-rate, crummy and small,
we can’t accept that. If it comes down to them not wanting competition,
we’ll never come to a resolution,’’ he said. “We haven’t done anything
that isn’t done down on the Strip.’’
Station spokesman Lesley Pittman counters that the
Trop-and-Industrial intersection isn’t on the Strip, and that the traffic
concerns are different. “We’re not opposed to the activity, just the
intensity of the activity.’’
But a preliminary analysis by traffic engineers indicates
that the 300 timeshare units will have minimal impact, and that the addition of
a right-turn lane will ease any additional traffic flow. Lipschultz has pledged
to comply with all recommendations. “We’re actually improving a troubled
intersection,’’ Borgel said
South Beach proponents say they are perplexed by
Station’s intervention. The company, which owns the 255-room Wild Wild West
Casino on the opposite corner, expects to announce its own plans for a major
expansion in the coming months.
“If they’re saying this intersection is so bad, how can
they turn around and justify that? Are they going to shoot themselves in the
foot in public?’’ Borgel asks.Â
County commissioners, acting as the Planning Commission, last month unanimously approved the $115 million South Beach blueprints submitted by Lipschultz, who operates the 150-room Howard Johnson hotel, an International House of Pancakes franchise and the 5,000-square-foot casino at the site.