Casinos in Detroit:  A Stone's Throw from the Riverfront, or Why Not Belle Isle . June 2001

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Casinos in Detroit:  A Stone's Throw from the Riverfront, or Why Not Belle Isle

By Howard Berenbon

It looks like Mayor Dennis Archer and the Detroit City Council are approaching a solution to the riverfront casino controversy.  His recent proposal to allow MGM Grand Detroit to built their permanent casino about a block from the riverfront, and close to the originally proposed spot, may be the beginning of some permanence for Detroit's first attempt at making gambling casinos a viable tax generating business.  The proposal also states that MotorCity Casino and Greektown Casino will expand at their current locations and will not be relocated to the riverfront.

The new proposed site for MGM Grand Detroit is between Rivard and St. Aubin, about a block from the Detroit River and within the area agreed to by the city council and the casinos, in 1998.  However, some of the council members now oppose casinos on the riverfront, which is causing a delay and a dilemma.  The casinos are ready and willing to build their permanent homes as soon as possible.  The residents of area on the riverfront, a 57-acre of land once intended for the three Detroit casinos, want more money than the casinos agreed to pay.  In the 1998 the casinos agreed to pay $250 million for the riverfront property, which is now valued at $500 million.  With the current proposal, the city, with $150 million from the three casinos, will build a riverfront park.

Why Not Build on Belle Isle?

 I recently attended a wedding in Detroit, and the reception was at the Belle Isle Casino (it's not a casino, yet).  Well, why not consider placing one of the permanent casinos on Belle Isle?  It's a beautiful island that could host one, or even all the casinos, but one would be quite all right.  I bet MotorCity Casino would jump at the chance to make their permanent casino home there.  Just a thought that could be a reality.

Howard Berenbon