May 22, 2009 — If Crucians were really gamblers, setting the odds on which of the many casinos proposed for the island will become reality would be the hottest game in town.
The odds for Seven Hills Beach Resort and Casino development planned for Robin Bay increased greatly Thursday when it received unanimous approval from the Coastal Zone Management board for a permit.
David Kagan, project manager, speaking on behalf of the developers, called it the next to the last step in the developer getting its casino license.
Robert M. Mitchell, a managing member, appeared to want to put the odds completely at rest. When asked what the chances were for a groundbreaking this fall, he said, Absolutely, it is going to happen.
However, real oddsmakers would have to take into account some downsides. After all, this project, the brainchild of Curtis Robinson, management partner, has been on the drawing board for 10 years.
Not everyone at the decision hearing at the Port Authority's conference room in the Henry H. Rohlsen Airport, was completely gung ho on the project. It was noted that only one of the 16 questions asked by the board concerned the environment.
The top issue, if one goes by the questions asked by board members, was jobs. Kagan said there would be more than 300 jobs created during construction and when the facility was open it could employee more than 1,500 people.
All along I wanted to put people to work, Robinson said. I'm elated by the outcome.
The plans call for four phases of development over a 10- to 12-year span, depending on market conditions and demand. Phase one includes two hotels with 422 rooms, a 30,000-square-foot casino, meeting and banquet rooms, retail shops, spa space, an 18-hole golf course, 56 timeshare condos and utility infrastructure. Later, if all goes well, the plans call for more hotel rooms, condos and cottages along the golf course.
With Golden Gaming's casino and resort project planned for just west of the Robin Bay project, near Great Pond, and Divi Carina Bay Resort just four miles east of these developments, the south shore could become a mecca for gamblers.
And, if the William and Punch development proposed on the island's west end was also built, gamblers would have their Medina.
In the developers' presentation, they said they would follow the guidelines for allowing the proposed bike path to go through the property, and they could abide by all the 18 conditions set forth by the CZM staff.
They also said they would be preserving ruins in the midst of the property and using that as a tourist attraction
CZM board members attending were Neil Simon, Masserae Webster, Charles Peters and Robert Merwin, all voting yes on the permit.
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