Architectural plans for The Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino in Carson City's Southgate Mall are almost complete and Yesco Sign Co. in Reno has been chosen to create a 200-foot oil derrick and electronic board, owner Max Baer said Thursday.
One major stumbling block could be the neighbors, while the oil derrick will require a special permit.
A covenant signed in 1990 between the three major property owners at the mall -- J.C. Penney Co., Glenbrook Corp. and Wal-Mart -- restricts use of the property to commercial purposes normally found in a retail shopping center.
Theaters, bowling alleys, billiard parlors or other places of recreation or amusement are banned within 300 feet of the Wal-Mart property, and despite that company's departure, the covenant remains.
Baer said he sent a letter to officials at J.C. Penney and talked to Glenbrook officials concerning the issue Tuesday, the first meeting since the property was purchased in July.
"They wanted to hear what I was planning directly from me and I wanted to hear their feelings," he said. "I can only speak for myself, but I felt the meeting was productive. I think they understood I'm not interested in doing anything but a casino and I'm hoping for their cooperation."
Baer argued that gaming is not specifically mentioned in the agreement. The International House of Pancakes just across the parking lot has slot machines and the area is zoned for unlimited gaming.
"Because gaming is highly regulated in this state, it must be specifically addressed, either in the affirmative or in the negative," he said. "We have gaming in most shopping centers in Nevada. When Penneys was located at the Carson Mall, they had gaming right next door. We have gaming all over this state. That's what we do here. Without it, Nevada's economy would collapse."
Shelley Aldean of Glenbrook Corp. said the meeting was cordial, but there is a difference of opinion on how the restrictions would affect Baer's ability to use the property for a casino.
She said no additional meetings have been scheduled, but she expects to have the problems resolved in about a month.
"This is a family-owned and operated company and we need to work through some issues," said Aldean, who is also a city supervisor. "We admire his spunk and determination, but there are some concerns about the impact of a casino."
Plans for the complex include a 200-foot oil derrick, 30,000-square-foot casino with 800 slot machines and 16 game tables, a 240-room hotel and restaurants, all wrapped around a "Beverly Hillbillies" theme.
Carson City's sign ordinance would require Baer to obtain an exemption before he could erect the derrick.
At Granny's Shot Gun Wedding Chapel, the groom will be hauled in wearing a ball and chains, while the pregnant bride waits at the altar. Whether renewing vows or gettin' hitched for the first time, the whole ceremony can be taped, edited and scored.
Plans include an arcade for the kids and a nine to 10-theater movie complex. For those who want an upscale eating experience, Drysdale's Fancy Eatins will be ready and Baer said he'll be tending bar, waiting tables and driving the limo to the airport, hillbilly-style.
John King of King Ventures purchased the property in late July and it was transferred to Max Baer Productions on Aug. 15.
Once work on the project begins, Baer expects to have the casino and movie complex up and running in 6-9 months. The hotel is expected to take about a year.