$700M Casino Resort in East Biloxi Asks for Tax Rebates

Biloxi Council members are set to consider a tax rebate proposal for a casino project on the former Tivoli Hotel site in East Biloxi, Mississippi, at a scheduled meeting Tuesday, as developers are seeking tax incentives to help them entice investors to support the $700 million casino, hotel and conference space development.

Tax Incentives for 5 Years

Featuring on the council meeting agenda is a proposal for the city to forgive 50% of the ad valorem tax on the new construction for 5 years, as well as a 10% reduction in the city’s share of the casino license fees for the 5-year-period. The proposed incentives will also need to be approved by Harrison County supervisors.

Biloxi Capital, the owner of the 30 acres of land on which the Tivoli casino resort will be built came up with a proposal for a 1,300-room hotel, with 100,000 square feet of conference center and regional retail, projecting the project would create nearly 3,000 jobs.

Last year, building the proposed amenities was estimated to cost $400 million, but that price was hiked to $600 million in January, and now the developer, RW Developments, is already setting a $700 million price tag. The price is only one part of the issue for the property on US 90 which was acquired for $40 million nearly 16 years ago, as the proposed site lacks approval for a casino site from the state gaming regulator.

Site Not Suitable for a Casino

Biloxi Capital efforts suffered a major setback Thursday when the state Supreme Court upheld the ruling from Harrison County court in favor of the Mississippi Gaming Commission (MGC), which stated that the property on 1820 Beach Boulevard, east of Veterans Avenue, in Biloxi, does not meet regulations for a legal casino site.

According to Biloxi Mayor Andrew Gilich, the approval is key to the development of the casino project which never went for site approval by the MGC since it was initially introduced in 2007.

Also on the council meeting agenda, the city will consider financing of up to $78 million via a tax increment financing (TIF) bond for the Broadwater Casino in West Biloxi, a project seeking to build a resort on the former Broadwater Beach site. The proposed bond will help the developer, Broadwater Development, pay for the infrastructure improvements.

In June, the $1.1 billion proposed casino which will feature a golf course, hotel, spa, and various other amenities, spanning on 226 acres of land, received a Mississippi tourism tax rebate from the Biloxi Council.

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