Tuesday, July 18, 2000 | 10:45 a.m.
Gregg Giuffria, who has stepped down from the company, said Monday the Hard Rock project "will remain a top priority" for Las Vegas-based Full House.
Giuffria said he is pursuing venture capital and real estate development projects in northern California. He served as the company's CEO for about two years.
"We will miss Gregg and wish him the best," said Full House Chairman and CEO William McComas, who will assume Giuffria's duties. "We are grateful to him for his hard work on our Hard Rock Hotel & Casino-Biloxi project."
Difficulties obtaining financing and delays in getting clear title to the 6.7 acres on the former Gold Shore casino site off U.S. 90 near the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor have hindered efforts to get the project built.
"Fighting a few environmentalists in California will be easier than trying to win that uphill battle down there," Giuffria said.
Full House and Hard Rock plan a $270 million, 400-room hotel, casino, retail store and concert hall.
But long and complicated negotiations with several landowners hurt the project, Giuffria said. By the time Full House was ready to approach Wall Street for financing, the availability of cheap capital had dried up.
"I know the Hard Rock is a solid project for the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Giuffria said. "I'm from that area. I know it will work."
Full House operates slot machines for the Delaware State Fair Board at Harrington Raceway and is working on a casino project with the Coquille Indian Tribe in North Bend, Ore.
Both projects are joint ventures with Dreamport Inc., the gambling subsidiary of GTECH Corp. of Rhode Island.