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Pinnacle Entertainment on Monday said the price of its planned riverboat casino near the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis has doubled due to additional commitments and an increase in the project's scope.
The Las Vegas-based casino operator said it will spend $400 million on the planned hotel-casino complex, up from the original cost of $208 million.
The increase includes $45 million to purchase and remodel a 300-room Embassy Suites hotel adjacent to the site and approximately $15 million for additional land. In all, the project will have 500 hotel rooms -- 200 new rooms along with the Embassy Suites -- and a casino large enough for 2,000 slot machines.
Pinnacle Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dan Lee said the company's main competition in St. Louis -- Harrah's Entertainment and Ameristar Casinos -- each spent more than $400 million on their casinos.
"Both companies are getting a tremendous return on investment, so we needed to build a project to compete at that level," Lee said. "This level of investment was a major force in the renewal of downtown St. Louis."
In May, Pinnacle completed the company's most ambitious project to date, the $365 million L'Auberge du Lac in Lake Charles, La. The new property opened to positive reviews from gaming analysts and industry observers.
Pinnacle either owns, will buy, or will lease approximately 18 acres for the downtown St. Louis casino complex. Lee said L'Auberge "set a bar" for the company to match.
"Our Lake Charles casino showed the scope of a project this company can build," he said.
Pinnacle also has an agreement with St. Louis County to build a $375 million casino and hotel in the community of Lemay. The company is planning a casino large enough for 2,000 slot machines and a 100-room hotel, as well as enhancing the former industrial site to include a four-lane road into the property and creating a county park on 24 acres of the 80-acre location.
Pinnacle Entertainment was selected for the two St. Louis-area projects in 2004 by the city and county of St. Louis, and was then approved by the Missouri Gaming Commission during competitive bidding.
"We have great confidence in the St. Louis County market," Lee said.
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