July 15, 2008
MONCTON (CNB) - The details of a $90-million investment to build Casino New Brunswick, a destination casino, hotel and multi-use entertainment and convention centre, were released today by Sonco Gaming New Brunswick Limited Partnership.
The facility will be located south of the Trans-Canada Highway, off Exit 450 onto Mountain Road, and is expected to open in the spring of 2010. It will create the equivalent of 400 full-time jobs when completed, and 770 full-time job equivalents during construction.
The casino complex will be comprised of three completely separate and distinct buildings - a hotel, the Palladium (a multifunction entertainment and convention centre), and the casino - all integrated into one linear design. The buildings will be connected by an interior corridor that allows internal access to all three buildings.
The corridor will be a gallery for pedestrians, with the intention being to accent the walking path with pictures of the province's 69 lighthouses. A lighthouse theme will be a feature of the exterior design of the casino building.
The architectural inspiration for the complex comes from North America's grand resorts, including the CN Hotel in Banff, the Tadoussac Hotel in Quebec, and the Fairmont Algonquin in St. Andrews-by-the-sea. The gaming floor will consist of 600 slot machines, 20 table games, and eight poker tables. There will be food and beverage seating for 350 guests.
The hotel will feature 128 rooms, a pool, a spa and a coffee shop. The Palladium features functional space which is divisible into one, two or three rooms, and offers up to 1,500 retractable theatre-style seats, allowing the floor to be used in either the theatre-stepped or flat-floor mode.
The Palladium will have the capacity to host theatre and musical productions of up to 1,500 seats (with proper stage), and banquet seating for weddings or similar events in rooms that can hold from 125 seats to over 1,400, and classroom seating from 288 people to more than 1,400.
The entire project is being funded by the private sector, with no government funding involved.
"We are pleased to build and operate a destination casino that the people of New Brunswick can be proud of," said Michael Novac, Sonco Gaming New Brunswick Limited Partnership president and CEO. "Our proposal to build a destination casino, multi-use entertainment and convention building, as well as a hotel and spa in the city of Moncton will provide a catalyst for economic development at both the local and provincial levels.
"This significant investment in New Brunswick will result in the direct development of jobs as well as incremental leisure, entertainment and tourism infrastructure. We have chosen the Magnetic Hill-Moncton location so that our direct investment in the destination casino site will also attract spinoff investment in the surrounding attractions and existing hotel properties."
Finance Minister Victor Boudreau said that he was very pleased with many aspects of the project as outlined by Sonco.
"This is a first-class project which will have many spinoff and direct economic benefits for the region, and I applaud Sonco's commitment to the region and province," Boudreau said. "Government is also tremendously pleased with the very rigorous and professional manner that the entire selection process and signing of the service provider agreement have followed."
"We partnered with the members of the Sonco team to build and successfully operate a casino in Western Canada, and are very pleased to partner again in the development of what will be a terrific addition to the Magnetic Hill tourist destination," said Clairvest co-CEO Jeff Parr.
The four members of Sonco Gaming New Brunswick Limited Partnership are Sonco Gaming Inc., Navegante Group Inc., Clairvest Group Inc., and Riseley Gaming Inc.
Sonco Gaming Inc. is a Maritime-based real estate and casino development company which has been involved since 1995 in the Canadian gaming industry; Clairvest is a publicly traded private equity investment management company which has been active in the Canadian gaming industry since 2000; Navegante Group is a U.S.-based casino operator with a great deal of experience; and Riseley Gaming Inc.(formerly 2050631 Ontario Inc.) is an Ontario company with experience in both government and private-sector-operated gaming facilities.
Sonco was identified as the preferred proponent on May 8, 2008.
There were four proposals submitted in response to a request for proposals. Five teams comprised of process and financial consultants from KPMG LLP, industry experts HLT Advisory Inc., and select government officials evaluated the proposals. KPMG LLP was also the fairness monitor throughout the process.
The destination casino project was part of a responsible gaming policy announced by the province on Nov. 8, 2007.
The four pillars of the policy are:
MEDIA CONTACTS: Marc Belliveau, communications, Finance, 506-453-4138; Jim Warren, Casino New Brunswick, 902-429-8200.