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$2 Billion Casino Move to Detroit Riverfront Questioned

25 December 2000

DETROIT, Michigan -- Dec. 25, 2000 --As reported by the Associated Press: "The city council president and others are questioning whether an elaborate $2 billion plan to put the city's three casinos along the river will ever happen.

"Mayor Dennis Archer has promoted a plan to build a casino, hotel, restaurant and shopping district along the Detroit River. But the plan is in jeopardy because of skyrocketing land prices, delays in the city's schedule to buy the land, and opposition to the project.

"...`We are very close,' said Archer spokesman Greg Bowens. `If we listened to the doubters, Comerica Park wouldn't have been built.'

"But there are major problems still looming for the casinos complex. Among them:

"--City negotiators asked for another year to acquire the land, the second extension granted by the City Council. One reason it is taking so long is that the city has decided not to use condemnation to take the land. Courts in other states have ruled against cities that tried to use eminent domain to clear the way for casino projects.

"--Many people oppose turning the riverfront over to casinos.

"--Detroit's option with some landowners to purchase their property runs out March 31. Landowners could sell their land to other buyers after that.

"--Time is running short as Detroit pushes to have the casinos and adjacent 800 hotel rooms ready by the time the Super Bowl comes to Ford Field in February 2006.

"...Detroit's three casinos -- the MGM Grand Detroit Casino, the MotorCity Casino and the Greektown Casino -- are paying the bill, including any costs above the cap..."

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