I have definitely not followed the progress of this development as closely as I have some others. However, it seems that we are all going to benefit from the fact that Pinnacle Entertainment is running this project instead of the originally proposed Isle of Capri project. This thing is huge!
While Laclede’s Landing has had its struggles and the Bottle District can’t even get off the ground, this $507 million project has been moving full steam ahead. The casino finally opened up a few weeks ago. If you haven’t driven by at night, you need to check it out. Its a site to behold. A very unique and worthy addition to the skyline.
The impressive thing about the project is that is really going to improve the amount of social options in the area. Aside from the casino itself, the development includes the following destinations (some are still not open):
Dining & Bars
A worthy assortment of bars, restaurants and retail shops. The map above is a layout of the casino itself. One of the remaining questions about the project is how it is going to affect Laclede’s Landing. Although it acts as a sort of southward extension of the Landing, many have addressed concerns over how disconnected the casino feels from the rest of the area. The fear seems to be that casino and it’s many nightlife destinations will draw customers away from the rest of the Landing. For an area that has had its share of troubles that could be a death knell. Whether those fears prove to be founded will be seen in time.
Early reports seem to be positive on atmosphere and ambiance, but slightly negative on service. I guess thats to be expected for such a large establishment so soon after opening. Once they manage to convince the State to remove the current $500 loss limit per two hour session (we all known that’s going to happen) things look like they are going to work out just fine.
But the most exciting thing about this development isn’t even the casino, the hotel or the plethora of new nightlife opportunities; its Phase II of the project. Pinnacle has been planning this phase since the projects inception and is committed to building at least $50 million in residential developments along the North Riverfront. This is what Pinnacle Chairmen and CEO Daniel Lee had to say about the next phase of this project:
“Additional phases, which include eight residential buildings totaling 375 condos, and 220,810 square feet of commercial space, will be built after phase 1 opens based on market demand. Retail tenants have not been signed to the proposed commercial space. The second phase of the development calls for a 35,258-square-foot grocery store, an 11,481-square-foot cafe and an additional 174,071 square feet of retail space.”
Initial plans were recently put on display at Lambert airport and can be seen: HERE. This plan is in the very early stages and will undoubtedly change as it develops, but its a great sign of things to come. Pinnacle has a very strong track record on following through with such proposals and even a scaled-back version of this project could do a lot to increase the desirability of the north riverfront. Rumors are circling that costs for the second phase could even reach $500 million. Needless to say, its going to be interesting to see how this pans out. As a region, we need to do all we can to retain our local young professionals and to draw in others from across the country. This is the kind of development we need to be seeing more of.