Pinnacle Plans Louisiana Casino

Pinnacle Entertainment ( PNK) plans to build a new $350 million casino resort in Lake Charles, La., adjacent to its L'Auberge du Lac property.

The new resort, called Sugarcane Bay, will replace Harrah's ( HET) Lake Charles facility, which was largely destroyed by Hurricane Rita and that Pinnacle recently agreed to acquire. The resort will feature 400 guestrooms and suites.

The hotel and other amenities will surround a new single-level riverboat casino, the Las Vegas-based company said after the close Tuesday. Sugarcane Bay will feature a dedicated poker room, table games and around 1,500 slot machines. The casino will also have restaurants, shopping, a pool and a spa. It will be connected to L'Auberge.

Construction is scheduled to begin next year, and the opening is planned for 2009, assuming the Louisiana Gaming Control Board clears the project.

Additionally, L'Auberge will break ground in August on its 250-room expansion. The expansion should be finished next year. Separately, Pinnacle was upgraded by Nollenberger Capital to buy from neutral.

Shares of Pinnacle were gaining $2.13, or 7.6%, to $30 in recent trading.

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