Gateway still betting on Kingsway casino, council told

Thursday 23rd January 2020

City officials recently met with company, which is undergoing a $1.46B merger

Gateway Casinos, which aims to build a $60 million casino as part of the Kingsway Entertainment District in Sudbury, has merged with another company, city council was told Tuesday.

The merger, which took place last month, is with Leisure Acquisition Group, creating a new company valued at $1.46 billion.

The new entity will still be called Gateway. Marc J. Falcon, a director with Leisure, will become CEO, taking over from Tony Santo, who is retiring and will act as an adviser.

Ian Wood, who is overseeing construction of the city's big projects for Greater Sudbury, said city staff recently met with Gateway and developer Dario Zulich in Toronto. Both said they are still committed to the KED, which has been mired in legal appeals since it was approved in early 2018.

Wood said they met with the new vice-president of the merged company.

"He was quite positive," Wood said, and looks forward to continuing with the KED.

The project is facing both a planning appeal at the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal and a civil suit from local businessman Tom Fortin. The LPAT hearing is scheduled for May. Wood said both sides in the civil suit are finalizing their arguments, and then will seek a hearing date in Ontario Superior Court.

A partial decision from the LPAT on whether to strike part of that appeal - from the Minnow Lake Restoration Group - is expected "at any time," he said.

In a response from a question from Ward 11 Coun. Bill Leduc, Wood said he expects the first Superior Court date will come before the May LPAT hearing.

"But there's no certainty," he said.

A decision from the LPAT is expected before the end of the year. If the appeal to stop the KED is rejected, opponents can still appeal, although that process is expected to be quicker. If the appeal is successful, however, city council will have to decide whether to fix problems with the original decision, and approve the project again.

At that point, if there is another appeal, the LPAT process would begin again.

With the merger, Gateway has withdrawn its initial public offering, which it filed in November 2018. An IPO is part of the process a company must complete if wants to sell shares to raise operating funds.

According to a story in the Financial Post, Gateway estimates it is worth about $2.5 billion, and expected to raise about $400 million through the IPO. It withdrew from the process Dec. 27 last year.

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