Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mohegan To Meet With Zoning Board On Possible Hotel At Pennsylvania Property

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The following installment of The Tribe In The Media is an article in the Pennsylvania Times Leader newspaper on the Tribe's meeting with town officials on a possible hotel at their Pennsylvania racetrack-slot parlor.

Mohegan Sun eyes 9-story hotel, conference center
By Jerry Lynott
Times Leader
November 3, 2009

PLAINS TWP. – Many of the details for an expansion of the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs still have to be worked out, but the casino and harness racing track is getting things in order for a nine-story hotel and conference center.

A hearing is scheduled for 8 p.m. Nov. 16 before the Plains Township Zoning Board for the proposed project.

Bobby Soper, president and chief executive officer of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, said Monday the expansion is at the very preliminary stage.

“What we’re doing now is submitting a land development plan,” he said.

The hotel and conference center would be located next to the existing $208 million casino that opened in July 2008.

The casino owners filed a request for a zoning variance to proceed with obtaining the required permits for construction, Soper said.

Still to be decided is whether Mohegan will seek a partner to build and operate the hotel, Soper said.

“We’re not sure if there’ll be a flag tied to it,” he said.

The expansion appears to be contingent on the addition of table games to the slot machines in place at the casino.

Last week, Gov. Ed Rendell indicated he wanted legislators to have a table games bill on his desk before Nov. 10.

The games would provide an estimated $200 million in much needed revenue to the state and the figure helped with the passage of the 2009-2010 budget reached last month after a 101-day stalemate.

Since the summer, Mohegan has been planning to add poker, blackjack, roulette and craps for gamblers. In July, Soper said he believed the table games could be in place within six months of the passage of legislation approving the games.

The hotel and conference center will take longer, much to the satisfaction of Mitch Kornfeld, whose family owns and operates the nearby Woodlands Inn & Resort.

“I just hope it takes a long time,” he said with a laugh.

He acknowledged that talk of a hotel at the casino has been around for years. The passage of a table games bill will likely make it a reality.

“I think on a macro level, it’s good,” Kornfeld said. The area will benefit with the addition of the games through jobs and people going to the casino, he added.