Casino project near BC Place delayed again

Opening of controversial $600 million Parq Vancouver moved to fall 2017

The controversial casino under construction beside BC Place stadium has been delayed yet again.

The $600 million Parq Vancouver, which will include two Marriott hotels, was supposed to open in early 2017. Paragon Gaming confirmed June 29 that it has been delayed until fall 2017, but it is not commenting on the reasons for the construction delays. President Scott Menke did not respond to repeated requests by Business in Vancouver for comment.

“We want Parq Vancouver to be perfect for our future guests and the surrounding community, and perfection takes time,” the company said in a statement on its Site 10A website.

Last January, the company parted ways with Mike Graydon, the former B.C. Lottery Corp. CEO who headed the PV Hospitality division overseeing the project. Graydon left his job the same week that Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson visited Vancouver for a speaking engagement.

Graydon was hired in February 2014, three days after he left his six-year post at BCLC. A report later in 2014 by the Comptroller General’s office found that Graydon had been in a conflict of interest during the last two months of his BCLC job while he negotiated with Paragon. Under legal pressure, Graydon repaid $55,171.20 in salary, but kept his $30,960 vacation pay.

Paragon spokesperson Tamara Hicks said Graydon has not been replaced yet.

“As we are still in development/construction phase, we are taking the appropriate time and process to find a new president for Parq Vancouver,” Hicks said.

When it was announced on March 26, 2010, by then-Premier Gordon Campbell, construction was planned to begin in early 2011 and be complete in mid-2013. Campbell had intended for proceeds of the lease to help pay down the debt from the $512 million renovation of BC Place.

In April 2011, Vancouver city council agreed to relocation without expansion of the existing Paragon-owned Edgewater Casino licence. The 70-year, $6 million-a-year lease with B.C. Pavilion Corp. was renegotiated in 2013 to $3 million-a-year. Construction began in summer 2014. Under an accommodation side deal, Paragon will pay Musqueam Indian Band, instead of PavCo, $8.5 million of the first $9 million in lease payments. The project is a joint venture between Paragon, Dundee Corp. and PBC Real Estate Advisors.

The complex will include eight restaurants and lounges, conference space and outdoor lounge.