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State’s largest casino now for sale

Andy VuongThe Denver Post

The bankrupt owner of Fortune Valley Hotel & Casino in Central City disclosed Monday that it has put the property on the block.Indianapolis-based Centaur, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Saturday, hired the Innovation Group, a consulting firm, in August to find a buyer for Fortune Valley.Centaur wants to focus on its core business of operating “racinos” – racetracks that feature casino gambling, said chief financial officer Kurt Wilson. The company owns Hoosier Park Racing & Casino in Indiana and plans to build a massive racino in Pennsylvania.Fortune Valley is a pure casino, the largest in Central City with about 780 slot machines.Wilson said a sale of the property is not imminent.”We have been actively engaged in dialogue and conversation with a number of parties since August,” he said. “If we did something tomorrow, it could take six to 18 months to get through the regulatory process.”The company bought Fortune Valley from Harrah’s in 2003.Fortune Valley and Hoosier Park will stay open while Centaur tries to navigate through bankruptcy. The properties generate enough cash to cover operating expenses, Centaur said. But the company is struggling with a debt load that Wilson pegs at $680 million. Centaur has $584 million in assets, he said.A disclosure in the Chapter 11 filing confirms that Centaur helped finance the construction of the Central City Parkway, a rumor that has circulated for years.Centaur’s unsecured creditors include Ames Construction, which is owed nearly $1.3 million. Ames built the $38 million parkway, which runs between Central City and Interstate 70 and opened in November 2004.”The funding that was available at that time was a little short, and they agreed to pick up a portion of the construction cost,” said Kurt Isenberger, an official with Ames.The Central City business improvement district issued $45.2 million in bonds to pay for the road, initial bond payment and other costs. Wilson said Ames’ claim is tied to a bonus Centaur had agreed to pay if the road was completed on time, which it was.Centaur will file a reorganization plan in the “very near future” and hopes to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of July, Wilson said.Andy Vuong: 303-954-1209, avuong@denverpost.com or twitter.com/andyvuongRead more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14637398#ixzz0hhhU9etg


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