Belle of Baton Rouge $141M Inland Move Secures Financing From Casino Landlord

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The Belle of Baton Rouge in Louisiana is ready to embark on its inland voyage that will replace the riverboat gaming space with a brick-and-mortar casino floor.

The Belle of Baton Rouge will soon disembark its riverboat for a brick-and-mortar casino. Penn Entertainment’s real estate investment trust is primarily financing the project that’s projected to cost upwards of $141 million. (Image: Casino.org)

The Queen Casino & Entertainment Inc., formerly CQ Holding Company, announced in April 2023 its plans to move the Belle of Baton Rouge riverboat to land. Queen Casino relocated its other Louisiana riverboat, The Queen Baton Rouge, to a new land-based facility last year through a $70 million investment.

Gaming and Leisure Properties, Inc. (GLPI), the real estate investment trust controlled by Penn Entertainment, is the Belle of Baton Rouge’s landlord. GLPI confirmed this week that it will primarily finance the casino’s relocation. GLPI is committing $111 million to the project that’s expected to cost upwards of $141 million. Queen Casino & Entertainment will cover the remaining $30 million.

“Building on the success of our landside move funding at The Queen Baton Rouge, we have agreed to provide funding for the hard costs related to Queen Casino & Entertainment’s landside move at the Belle. Queen Casino & Entertainment has proven its ability to leverage a fresh, new product to grow the overall gaming market, and we expect this project to follow a similar path,” said Peter Carlino, chairman and CEO of GLPI.

GLPI will own the physical property of the new Belle of Baton Rouge and lease its operations to Queen Casino Entertainment at a rate that will increase by 9% a year. Terms of the initial rent rate weren’t disclosed. 

Property Makeover

The planned Belle of Baton Rouge project is a larger undertaking than what GLPI and Queen Casino Entertainment undertook with The Queen Baton Rouge. Unlike The Queen, the Belle is not only a gaming venue, but additionally has a 250-room hotel.

The hotel has remained closed since 2020, but renovation work recently began on the guestrooms. The Belle additionally had several restaurants and bars in the property’s atrium, which is also being overhauled in part of the project’s makeover.  

The Belle is located about a mile south of the Louisiana State Capitol along the Mississippi River. The casino property is less than two miles north of the Louisiana State University Campus.

Updating the casino’s hotel rooms is a safe bet, as Baton Rouge hotels regularly sell out during LSU Tigers home football games. Queen Entertainment execs say they’re bullish on the Baton Rouge market after realizing strong gaming revenue following the reopening of The Queen in its new brick-and-mortar home last August.

We are extremely pleased with The Queen’s performance since its grand reopening,” said Queen Casino & Entertainment CEO Terry Downey. “As we now turn our attention to the Belle, we look forward to realizing similar operational upside from this latest move landside.”

Downey says once the Belle project is complete, the company will market the two properties together.

Atrium Casino 

GLPI and Queen Casino Entertainment didn’t provide specifics on the Belle makeover, but company reps previously said that the property’s atrium would become the new home of the casino floor. Casino.org reported last year that the forthcoming Belle casino will house around 350 slot machines and a dozen live dealer table games.

GLPI says its casino tenants are responsible for all facility maintenance, insurance premiums, utilities, and property taxes.

The post Belle of Baton Rouge $141M Inland Move Secures Financing From Casino Landlord appeared first on Casino.org.

 

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