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News Maryland Anne Arundel County

Cordish gets initial approval for building Arundel Mills slots

Baltimore-based Cordish Cos. has received initial approval from Anne Arundel County to build what is expected to be the state's most lucrative slots parlor at Arundel Mills mall.

The Anne Arundel County Department of Planning and Zoning has approved Cordish's site development plan — a first step in the construction approval process — for its 4,750-slot casino.

Cordish plans to construct the project in two phases -— the first being a temporary casino in the first floor of an approximately eight-story parking garage with 2,000 slot machines, which is slated to open late next year. The second phase is the permanent casino structure, which will include a live music venue and several restaurants, expected to be completed by late 2012.

Cordish's site development plan, which officials say complies with the adequate public facilities ordinance, requires upgrades to nearby roadways and public utilities and was approved Tuesday, county officials said.

"I'm hopeful that the construction jobs and the revenues that will come to the county will begin flowing by the end of 2011," said County Executive John R. Leopold.

With the initial approval, Cordish can now apply for grading and building permits, undergo a site development review and submit its transportation management plan, which also requires approval from the State Highway Administration, to the county.

The company won approval for the Arundel Mills slots site in November's election after a hard-fought Anne Arundel County referendum battle.

Meanwhile, Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino signed a slots license late Thursday for the Casino at Ocean Downs, ensuring that the state's second gambling facility will open Tuesday. The license was granted after the Eastern Shore casino near Ocean City conducted a successful trial run of its 750-machine facility Wednesday.

The casino will open to the public at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

nicole.fuller@baltsun.com

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