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Baltimore Board Approves Slots Location Change

Baltimore's spending board approved a change on August 12th, 2009 that could relocate a proposed slots facility just blocks away from a previously picked location near MandT Bank Stadium. The slots development would replace an initial $200 million project supported by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis at Gateway South.

The technical amendment to the city's land agreement would let Baltimore City Entertainment Group construct a 3,750 machine slots facility on the 11-acre city-owned land along Russell St. in the city's Carroll Camden area. The group previously planned to construct its slots facility at a city-owned parking area known as Lot J, which is a smaller 3.7 acre location nearby.

Baltimore Development Corporation President M.J "Jay" Brodie said that Gateway South was promised to Lewis and Cormony Development, which planned to construct a mixed-used development on the land, including a sports facility and Lewis' Ray of Hope Center. But Lewis and Cormony were not able to begin building the casino project due to lack of financing.

The Gateway South developers have instead reached an agreement to hand over their claim on the land to Baltimore City Entertainment. The city Board of Estimates voted to permit that to happen by including the location in memorandum of understanding it approved in April with Baltimore City Entertainment.

But before the slots project can proceed, a state commission in charge of giving slots licenses must decide to give Baltimore City Entertainment the gaming licenses it needs for its project. Baltimore City Entertainment is scheduled to present its slots plan before the commission on August 6th, 2009.

Brodie that it is only a small step, considering that the most important part of the whole process will be the state commission's final decision on whether to give the slots licenses or not. If that happens, Baltimore City Entertainment would then need to formalize its agreement with Lewis and Cormony and a reach a separate deal with the city to utilize the Gateway South land for its slots project. Brodie said the city has put a preliminary price of about $13.2 million on the land, but that price could increase or decrease depending on other conditions.

Brodie said that among those conditions are that the city could also sell Lot J and a 2nd city parking area known as Lot O, to Baltimore City Entertainment. The slots developer is working on a master plan for how it would use those locations.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Caroline Mitchell