Casino, Water Park Resort Coming to Downtown?

Clipart image taken from -

Fort Wayne News is reporting that a local company owned by H.S. Liddell will be merging with another company which will bring a casino to Fort Wayne.  The company being merged with is Exit Only Inc., and is, “Currently established in Canada, Text4cars is planning an expansion into US markets over the coming months.”  This according to it’s website.  The press release, at the bottom of this post, states that the, “…goal is to revitalize the downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana area and provide financial support for the city.”

Mr. Liddell also owns Piere’s which is on the Northeast side of Fort Wayne near Canterbury Green.  As you may know, the possibility of a casino coming to Fort Wayne has been discussed as early as January by then newly-taken office Mayor Tom Henry.  Only days into office, he talked about the possibility of moving one of the state’s gambling licenses to this region.  

During the recent City Council Budget Hearings, Councilman Mitch Harper asked Deputy Mayor Greg Purcell about the possibility of a casino coming to town.  He responded that it was still being explored, but not to count on it to ease the City’s potential budget woes when House Bill 1001’s effect kicks in.

A recent poll was conducted by the News-Sentinel/WANE-TV.  The question was asked, “Would you favor or oppose a gaming boat in Fort Wayne as a part of the often discussed North River Project?”

Grouping Favor Oppose Not Sure
All 32% 36% 32%
Men 35% 34% 31%
Women 29% 38% 33%
Democrats 32% 35% 33%
Republicans 34% 34% 32%
Independents 30% 39% 31%

A follow up question was, “Should it be done by a regional development authority to support regional infrastructure and economic development?” (Only asked among the 32% who responded in favor). The response here was 42% in favor, 18% against and 40% not sure.

Another follow up question asked of those who responded favorably was, “Should it be done by Fort Wayne to support community development?”  Yes – 45%, No – 17%, Not sure – 38%.  This was really the only question asked that had any value or validity.  Click here to view the News-Sentinel/WANE-TV poll.

I’ve already expressed my thinking about the flawed first question, thus my own straw poll, albeit an unscientific one at that:

[poll id=”27″]

So, community support could go either way at this point.  Personally, I think religious/moral issues will play into this and if it comes to a referendum vote, it probably wouldn’t pass – it would be close, but in the end wouldn’t fly.

Another question: Is this the direction we want economic development to go in this community?  This is the view many on the City Council will be quick to embrace or deny.

And finally, will the City of Fort Wayne grant a tax abatement for the project if requested?  Under the current City and State Statutes, there would be no legal grounds for denying such a request.  

The other question is if this will be located downtown, where?  Are they going to purchase the OmniSource property?  It’s about the only large-sized parcel left downtown that could possibly house such a project.

In Anderson Indiana, 14 years ago, they constructed the infrastructure for the horse track that was built there.  For the recent casino, however, no incentives were given.  The City of Anderson owned the land the casino was built on which was purchased by the casino.  Linda Dawson, Executive Director for the City of Anderson Economic & Community Development, told me in an email that, “Casinos are such huge money making businesses.  It is hard to justify offering taxpayer funded incentives.”  It’s this feeling that should stick in our throats when considering such an offering locally.

The Press Release announcing the merger and possibly Fort Wayne Casino plans:

SOURCE: Exit Only Inc. – Nov 25, 2008 08:02 ET

Exit Only Inc. Signs Agreement to Merge With Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation

SANTA MONICA, CA–(Marketwire – November 25, 2008) – Exit Only, Inc. (PINKSHEETS: EXTO) today announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to merge with Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and President of Summit City Grand Resort & Casino are H.S. Liddell and Todd Smith.

Key political leaders have previously met to organize getting legislation approved for its gambling license for the state of Indiana. The construction of the proposed casino will be joined with the construction of a major water park, resort, and hotel. The goal is to revitalize the downtown Fort Wayne, Indiana area and provide financial support for the city. Key constituents have already conducted meetings with the Indiana Gaming Commission to initiate the process. The project is expected to bring approximately 1500 jobs to the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Indiana is one of the most popular resort and casino destinations in the United States. The Annual Reports filed within the Indiana Gaming Commission by other resorts and casinos in Indiana reflects a total of $2.219 billion for annual gross revenues generated within the gaming industry for FY2008. Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation is very confident that its resort and casino operations will make significant contributions towards the growth of the gaming industry while being a very unique and perfect counterpart for the state of Indiana.

The CEO of Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation, H.S. Liddell, is currently a part owner of the Sosua Bay Grand Casino & Resort and the Hotel Villa Chessa out of the Dominican Republic within the Caribbean Gaming & Acquisition Corp. 

For over 20 years, Mr. Liddell has been the owner and operator of “Piere’s”, one of the largest nightclubs in the Midwest located in Fort Wayne, IN. Piere’s includes 5 great clubs under one roof and its “million dollar stage.” Piere’s is 4th in the world in concert ticket sales for “over 21” concerts. Over 1000 National Recording Artists have performed including the likes of Godsmack, Creed, REO Speedwagon and Willie Nelson. Piere’s has over 65 national concerts per year and entertain over 6,000 people per week. 

Mr. Liddell brings a great background in operations of large scale entertainment projects to the Company and is also the owner of some properties within Sosua including a property housing 20 apartments and 12 hotel rooms. Mr. Liddell also owns two other nightclubs, other commercial buildings, millions of dollars of downtown prime real estate development properties and warehouses in Indiana.

Mr. Liddell owns Allure Limousines, a premier limousine company that provide services for all of the Fort Wayne, Indiana area. Allure Limousines also owns a Classic Trolley in the area that holds up to 28 passengers. 

Mr. Liddell owns Picasso’s, the city’s premier banquet facility. All of Picasso’s food for weddings, anniversaries, corporate parties & more is catered by the four star restaurant owned by Mr. Liddell, Trolley Steaks & Seafood. The restaurant can cater from 10-250 people. 

As President, Todd Smith will oversee all operations for Summit City Grand Resort and Casino Holdings Corporation. Mr. Smith brings experience from currently overseeing 18 corporations, with over 300 employees, owned between himself and Mr. Liddell’s umbrella of businesses over the past 21 years.

The consummation of this merger did not require a reverse of the existing shares. The merger was completed in a share swap between current management and Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation. Shares were recently retired to enhance valuation in preparation for the merger completion. The current share structure will be updated on in the near future.

The company is currently in discussions with major partners to continue contributing towards the completion of this project. Significant financing options have been discussed and will be announced in detail in the near future.

About Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation
Summit City Grand Resort & Casino Holdings Corporation engages in the development, ownership, and operation of casino resorts. Its primary mission will be to manage and operate the premier casino, water park, resort and hotel operations that will be based out of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Summit City Resort

My apologies, I forgot to credit Dan Turkette for finding the press release.

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  1. Re: flawed TV polls I still haven’t forgotten the WPTA “Would you rather be on New York time or Chicago time? question. I know its unrelated but I just noticed WANE on its website missed one of the most important parts on the IU/NCAA sanctions story… no post season ban.

  2. Hi Mike,

    I agree and unfortunately, 15 does a really half-baked job of covering the City Council meetings. A few weeks ago, Jim Howard talked about how the City has covered their salt needs this year, and saved money even over the State DOT. Would have been the perfect story to cover in regards to the salt shortages around the state they’ve seen fit to play up. Also, during the recent budget hearings, and I realize it reached epic proportions, however, they showed up for the final and then weren’t really able to talk intelligently about what had transpired before. Oh well.

    Thank you for the comment, and Happy Thanksgving to you!


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