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TUNICA, MS-Myriad Entertainment & Resorts Inc. has entered into an agreement with a local family, Jack Day Perry Sr., to acquire more than 500 acres. The deal, anticipated to close August, will pave the way for the $1.62-billion Myriad Botanical Resort, a mix of gaming, retail and leisure real estate.

Myriad, also headquartered in Tunica, will acquire the property at Perry and Indian Mound roads for cash, shares of restricted common stock and percentage of gaming revenue. First phase development plans call for two casinos, each with a hotel, and a 400,000-sf convention and exposition center, also with a hotel and an 18-hole signature-design golf facility. Also on the boards are a retail complex, health club and spa, botanical gardens, water park and observatory. Future phases could include up to four additional casinos, among other options.

There are a few steps between here and there, however. One of them is funding. “We have the entitlements and we have our land deal, which smoothes the way to get funding,” says John Meeske, Myriad’s CEO. “I think we have 11 people that have expressed interest in funding so now we’re waiting for the appraiser.”

Once the paperwork is in place, sewers, pipes and other infrastructure can begin. As of now, the development site has been approved for up to six casinos in terms of zoning and site plans. A Public Improvement District was granted in January. Myriad has also been granted up to $71 million in tax increment financing.

Also helpful to Myriad’s cause is transportation infrastructure expansion. Meeske tells GlobeSt.com that Interstate 69, which links Tunica to Memphis, has been expanded to four lanes, decreasing traffic time. Also expanded have been the Memphis and Tunica airports. “The area is really gearing up for this,” he says, adding that other developers are looking at Tunica for destination resort developments as well. “They’ll take their product and add to it, but we’ll be a forerunner and be able to help Tunica become a national destination.”

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