BILOXI, Miss. — The chief executive of the Ferrara fire engine manufacturer in Holden is partnering with one of the largest casinos in the world to build a casino resort in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Chris Ferrara, president and chief executive officer of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, purchased 32 acres of land in Biloxi in 2002 and built a restaurant and marina. He has worked for about five years to put together an agreement to finance a casino resort.
The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, which owns Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut, said Tuesday its plans to develop and operate a Foxwoods-brand casino resort in Biloxi. Foxwoods is partnering with Ferrara and Biloxi Boardwalks Ventures and The Hartmann Group LLC, the resort’s project management company.
The resort has a tentative opening for spring 2019.
“The theme will be old Biloxi,” Ferrara said, to complement Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich’s vision for the city.
Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe will be a $265 million destination resort and casino on a 23-acre site on Biloxi’s Back Bay. It will employ several thousand people. The 781,000-square-foot complex will feature 50,000 square feet of casino space with about 1,380 slot machines and table games, a millennial gaming lounge, a 500-room hotel, theater and 71,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space.
“That will be the largest convention floor on the Gulf Coast second to the Coliseum,” Ferrara said, referring to a convention center in Biloxi.
It also will have six restaurants and bars, 3,300 square feet of retail, a spa, fitness center and a 10,000-square-foot bowling/shuffleboard space and outdoor entertainment attractions.
Ferrara said the resort will have many new attractions that will be announced and 95 percent of the site will be used for the convention center and casino floor.
“This is an exciting opportunity to not only expand geographic diversification for the Foxwoods brand, but also leverage our management expertise well beyond New England,” said Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council.
Foxwoods is a 9 million-square-foot resort owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe on its reservation land in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
“Biloxi Mississippi is a proven destination tourism market, with its near-perfect, year round climate, casual coastal vibe and exciting nightlife, all of which provides a perfect location to feature our world-class entertainment offerings,” said Felix Rappaport, president and CEO of Foxwoods Resort Casino.
The Mississippi Gaming Commission gave the property on the northeast tip of Biloxi site approval in 2012. As with any casino that opens now in Mississippi, this new resort is required to have at least 300 hotel rooms, a fine dining restaurant and an attraction that will draw new tourists to South Mississippi.