04/25/2013 11:01 EDT | Updated 06/25/2013 05:12 EDT

Paragon Reaches New Deal To Build Smaller Downtown Casino

Paragon Gaming, the company that fought and lost a bitter fight to build a mega casino beside BC Place, has reached a new deal to build a smaller casino at the same location.

The deal gives Paragon a 99-year lease with BC Place.

"The fact that we have signed agreements between ourselves and Paragon is a major step forward," said Peter Fassbender, chair of Pavco, the Crown corporation which runs BC Place.

Yesterday, B.C. NDP leader Adrian Dix said his party would consider selling BC Place if the NDP forms the next provincial government.

The announcement drew criticisms from opposition parties, who are never short for criticism in the heat of a provincial election campaign.

Fassbender said the deal was made under the assumption that once the hotel and casino is built, the stadium would be there, too.

"Any agreement that they make would bind any future owner of the facility," said Fassbender, who is also running for the B.C. Liberals in Surrey.

On Thursday, B.C. Liberal Leader Christy Clark wondered aloud if the NDP’s proposal to sell BC Place would cause uncertainty and delays in the casino deal.

"Any proposed sale will spend years in court," Clark said.

The B.C. NDP said the casino deal will be part of the party’s review of the future of BC Place.

"That's what a blue ribbon panel would consider," said Spencer Chandra Herbert, B.C. NDP candidate for Vancouver-West End.

"They would look at the contracts, they would look at sponsorship agreements, they would look at what kind of revenues there are."

So far, Paragon appears to be moving ahead and is trying to stay clear of the politics.

In a statement, the Crown corporation said: "Paragon has been in discussions with PavCo to explore opportunities at BC Place… we won't be commenting on any political party's campaign comments or policies."

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