|By Mary Perez, The Sun Herald, Biloxi,
Miss.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Feb. 04, 2011--BILOXI -- Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Casino and Restaurant made a splash with the Biloxi Planning Commission on Thursday, when the 14 members present unanimously approved the plans complete with a Volcano Bar.
"That's part of the entertainment that's proposed," said Michael Cavanaugh, attorney for the developers.
The Volcano Bar is based on Buffett's song, "Volcano," and is similar to the new bars at Margaritaville restaurants in Las Vegas, Orlando, Cancun and Jamaica. The volcano erupts each hour, filling giant blenders below with green margaritas. Cavanaugh said swimsuit-clad entertainers slide down the volcano and into the blenders.
He said financing is in place for the $48 million, 68,000-square-foot resort, which would be the first Margaritaville Casino. Developers hope to open by the end of the year on the Back Bay at Fifth Street.
Cavanaugh said a dock will anchor an 18-slip marina that will be for day use only. An escalator will take guests from the ground-floor enclosed atrium onto the casino floor.
An events center will be at one end of the casino and the restaurants and bars at the other end, overlooking the water.
A hotel is not part of the first construction phase, and Cavanaugh said, "Hotel rooms are not required for a casino." He said Margaritaville will have the required match of facilities with the marina, restaurants and events center.
Asked if Margaritaville Casino will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week like the other Biloxi casinos, Cavanaugh said, "That is undecided at this point."
He estimated 700 to 800 jobs will be created in addition to construction jobs.
The project still needs approval from the City Council and Mississippi Gaming Commission. Cavanaugh said there aren't any homes near the site, "No zoning change is necessary. There's no variances requested."
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Copyright (c) 2011, The Sun Herald, Biloxi, Miss.
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