SugarHouse preps launch of $180M loan for Philly casino

New York, July 28 (Standard and Poors/LCD) – Credit Suisse and Jefferies Finance set  a Thursday afternoon bank meeting to launch their $180 million credit package for SugarHouse Casino, sources said.

SugarHouse has one of two gaming licenses awarded in Philadelphia and is constructing a casino complex on a 22-acre site on the Delaware River,  two miles from downtown. The company is constructing an interim facility over the next 9-10 months that will house 1,700 slot machines. The interim facility will be integrated into the permanent complex, sources noted.  Legal wrangling had delayed construction; the license was awarded in 2006  and the interim facility was originally supposed to be up and running last year.

The five-year loan package for the borrower, HSP Gaming, includes a $10 million revolving credit, a $150 million funded term loan and a $20 million delayed-draw term loan. The arrangers expect to hold the  delayed-draw tranche. Informal price talk suggests a yield in the 12%  area. The deal will include a 3% LIBOR floor, sources noted. The  delayed-draw tranche will carry a 200 bps unused fee, while the RC unused fee is 100 bps.

The deal will be rated. In addition to a full covenant package of total-leverage, interest-coverage and minimum-EBITDA, lenders will also be covered by a $20 million debt-service reserve, according to sources. Lenders will have a security interest in the entity that holds the gaming licenses. Investors will also have a security interest in the land,  although there’s a seller note on four of the 22 acres. Developer Neil Bluhm has contributed roughly $167 million of equity to date toward the interim gaming facility, which is expected to cost up to  $310 million, including upfront fees for the gaming license, land acquisition and site work.

SugarHouse separately will borrow roughly $30 of equipment financing to fund purchase of the gaming machines and other equipment for the casino.

The 1.3-million-square-foot casino complex will be built on site of the former Jack Frost Sugar Refinery. The $550 million first phase comprises a casino with 3,000 slots, retail and dining outlets, and a 3,000-car  garage.
Later plans call for a 500-room hotel, a 30,000-square-foot event  center, and expanded dining and retail facilities.

– Chris Donnelly

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