Paragon Vancouver casino proposal: a timeline

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Mega casino plan rooted in city approval seven years ago

Mike Howell
Van. Courier

Paragon Gaming Inc. wants to build a casino adjacent to BC Place Stadium with 1,500 slot machines and 150 games tables. submitted artist rendering.

To approve or reject a proposal for the biggest casino in Western Canada? That is a decision city council will make either this month or next, depending on the outcome of public hearings, which begin March 7. Paragon Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas wants to build a casino adjacent to B.C. Place Stadium, featuring 1,500 slot machines and 150 games tables. Two hotels and restaurants are planned for the $500 million complex. So how did this come about? Here’s a timeline: – In January 2004, city council approves slot machines for the Edgewater Casino at the Plaza of Nations, making it the first gaming facility in the city to have the machines. Then-mayor Larry Campbell and councillors Jim Green, Raymond Louie, Tim Stevenson and David Cadman vote for slots. Councillors Peter Ladner, Tim Louis, Anne Roberts and Fred Bass vote against. Sam Sullivan (conflict) and Ellen Woodsworth (absent) don’t vote. – Edgewater opens in February 2005. Then-owners Gary Jackson and Len Libin predict revenue to be $125 million for the first year of operation. Total revenue for 2005/2006 fiscal year is $73 million. – In May 2006, Jackson and Libin file for protection from creditors under the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act. No liquor licence for the gaming floor, lack of signs advertising the casino, parking limits and competition from suburban casinos contributed to the loss in revenues, Jackson tells the Courier. – In September 2006, Jackson and Libin reach a deal with Paragon Gaming Inc. of Las Vegas to buy the casino for $43 million. Edgewater becomes the first foreign-owned casino in B.C. – In October 2008, city council approves amendments to the False Creek North official development plan, which includes a reference to “a major casino that will also serve the city and region.” – In November 2008, Gregor Robertson and seven of his Vision Vancouver councillors are elected in the civic election. Edgewater slot supporters Louie, Stevenson and Cadman are re-elected. – In April 2009, the B.C. Pavilion Corporation (PavCo), which is the provincial Crown agency that manages B.C. Place Stadium, issues a request for proposals for development of lands west of stadium. – In June 2009, PavCo notifies Paragon it won the bid. – In February 2010, Paragon signs 70-year lease with PavCo to build casino/hotel project adjacent to the stadium. The lease is subject to council approval and a series of factors outlined in PavCo’s agreement, including securing $350 million in financing. – In March 2010, Premier Gordon Campbell announces Paragon’s plans for a casino, saying, “During the Olympic Winter Games, the streets of Vancouver were alive with the Olympic spirit and we hope this entertainment complex will help recapture some of that excitement.” – In June 2010, PavCo, Paragon and city staff hold two open houses on the project. – In July 2010, the urban design panel–a city advisory committee–approves the project’s design. – In February 2011, the city hosts an open house on gaming that attracts more than 100 Edgewater employees concerned about their jobs. Paragon’s lease at the Plaza of Nations expires in 2013. – The next evening in Chinatown, more than 100 people attend a meeting organized by Vancouver, not Vegas!, a coalition opposed to Paragon’s proposal. Renowned architect Bing Thom calls for a referendum on gaming expansion. – This month, more than 120 people register to speak at a public hearing scheduled for March 7. More hearing dates are expected, with some possibly rolling into April. Monday night’s hearing begins at 7:30 p.m. © Copyright (c) Vancouver Courier

Comments are closed.