By KEN WARD
Miami, here we come. The Golden Palm Casino at Tropicana and Industrial is moving forward with its South Florida makeover.
"We’re looking at new names,’’ owner Marvin Lipschultz tells GamingToday. "We’ll have a Miami theme.’’
The name game has proved to be a complicated one for the independent operator. An early entry, the Gold Rush, was already taken by an eastside gambling hall. The next idea, South Beach, was claimed previously by Station Casinos. And Station, which owns the Wild Wild West across the street, wasn’t about to let Lipshultz make money with that moniker.
Whatever letters go up on the marquee, Lipschultz says expansion of the old Howard Johnson property is etched in stone. Construction will begin this year on an eight-floor parking garage.
That will be followed by a major two-stage expansion of the hotel and casino. The 24-story project will include a 420-room timeshare and a 27,000-square-foot gaming area. The International House of Pancakes will be incorporated as part of the enlarged casino.
Citing the hangover from 9-11 and tight financial markets, Lipschultz said the $115 million construction job will be parceled out in phases.
Meantime, he remains bullish on his heavily traveled off Strip location. This week, the State Gaming Control Board is scheduled to consider granting Lipschultz an unrestricted gaming license as president, secretary, treasurer, director and shareholder of the property in which he holds a 99 percent equity stake. His son, Erik, has applied for unrestricted licensing as casino manager and shareholder.
In other action, the board will consider an application by Paul W. Lowden as president, secretary, treasurer and director of Archon Sparks Management Co. and Duke’s Casino in Sparks.