Having reportedly lost interest in developing its second hotel and casino in the Dominican Republic, Hard Rock International has decided to pull the plug on the project it revealed plans for in January 2016.
The decision to pull out of the Santo Domingo project was in spite of the request for protective measure filed against provisional construction permits being rejected by the President of the Supreme Administrative Court of the Dominican Republic last month. David Collado, the mayor of the National District, made Hard Rock’s decision public and said that while the urban planning department maintained its position throughout the trial, the previous administration had granted building permission and local neighborhood committees played an important role.
Responding to the decision by the court, the attorney representing the local community, Miriam Paulino, said, “We are going to study the sentence but we are announcing that from now on that we will resort to the corresponding appeals route and we will carry out all the actions and legal means possible under the law in order to achieve the stoppage of this work and to achieve the cancellation of the permits which up until now have been granted in an irregular manner. We have lost one of a thousand battles. We will not give up,” according to the G3Newswire report.
Plans for the casino have been plagued by opposition almost from the start, with residents from the Piantini neighborhood and a committee comprised of staff from local schools asking the Ministry of Finance to deny the casino an operating license in February 2016. The opposition increased the following month when an open letter signed by 3,000 families was sent to the Ministry, which was followed in July by neighborhood councils reiterating their objection to the project citing the negative impact the casino would have on what is, for the most part, a residential zone. An injunction was then filed against the urban planning department of the National District by the residents of the neighborhood and surrounding areas arguing that the project was in violation of local planning provisions. The urban planning department was responsible for approving the building permit under the prior administration.
The reportedly now defunct development was scheduled to open by the year’s end. Plans for the project included a 400-room 38-story hotel tower which would house a 23,000 sq. ft. casino, with 400 slot machines, 40 table games, and a slew of other amenities.
The move by the Seminole Tribe of Florida-owned Hard Rock comes on the heels of the country’s Ministry of Finance destroying of more than 8,000 pieces of gaming equipment used in unauthorized gambling operations there. The mass scrap was part of an ongoing campaign against illegal gambling, operations, which took place during last December and January and February of this year.
When reached for comment, Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos had no comment at this time.