Barden contractor optimistic casino financing to come

The general contractor of a planned casino in Pittsburgh said he is optimistic financing will come through to keep the project moving, but acknowledged there’s a scenario under which construction could be temporarily halted.

Don Barden, the operator of the planned Majestic Star Casino, has until June 30 to pay contractors for work, said Dan Keating III, chairman of Philadelphia-based Keating Construction, the general contractor on casino project.

Keating said he is „deeply involved“ in Barden’s attempt to resolve financing, most urgent of which is a final USD 150 million loan.

„We’re the contractor,“ Keating said. „We’re working with Don, trying to help him resolve his financing issues. He has been very upfront with us and our vendors. We knew he had interim financing, and he kept all of our vendors fully apprised of every move.“

Keating said he will meet with Barden on June 30. „My hope is we’ll have a resolution, and we’ll figure out a plan. The subcontractors have been terrific. I can tell you we’ve been prepared for (any problems). There are no surprises here.“

Still, Keating admitted, if a permanent financing plan isn’t agreed to, work could stop, at least temporarily.

„They’ve got to get paid,“ Keating said of contractors and subcontractors. „We need a program to get paid and paid in a timely manner. Because of the limited capital, if they burn through their burn-rate, they simply stop. It’s no different than hiring a roofer. If they run out of capital, they say, ‚I’ll continue when I have more money.'“

Barden spokesman Bob Oltmanns did not return a call for comment.

Despite a possible financial issue, Keating said the casino work is proceeding well, and even might be ahead of the May 2009 completion schedule.

„There’s not a lot of obstructions, we’re really hitting this job,“ he said.