Max Baer's plans to build Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Mansion & Casino at Southgate Mall in Carson City are still in flux, but Baer seemed cautiously optimistic Wednesday.
"My goal is for (J.C.) Penney's to be more successful, to fill all the stores and have Jethro's Beverly Hillbillies Casino at Southgate," Baer said. "I always expect the worst, hope for the best and accept what I get. At my age, every day above ground is a good one."
The fate of his plans hinge on a decision concerning the rules governing businesses at Southgate. Restrictions exclude the establishment of a "theater, bowling alley, billiard parlor, nightclub or any place of recreation or amusement."
Casinos aren't specifically named in the restrictions and the fate of his new complex ultimately hinges on reaching an agreement with the other two Southgate owners, J.C. Penney and Glenbrook Co.
"They gave an opinion in a letter, and we researched the law in depth," Baer said. "The lawyers are talking and I'm hoping to resolve the issues. I believe there will be a finalization, one way or another, two weeks from today.
"We're sending a response," Baer said. "It's written so that once it's received, it will only be a couple of weeks before either they or we decide the next step. We've taken a firm legal position."
"I'm delighted to hear that something's forthcoming," said Shelly Aldean, spokeswoman for Glenbrook. "We're not interested in thwarting his plans, but we have concerns. We need to move forward. That requires dialogue."
Plans for the complex include a 200-foot flaming oil derrick. Baer expects to apply soon for a special-use permit for the derrick.
Baer has done his homework. When he proposed a casino in Reno, the derrick was approved by Reno city officials and the Federal Aviation Agency.
"My submission of documents to Carson City for a special-use permit will include all those approvals," he said.
Preliminary plans for the complex are being drawn up and include a 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.
The casino plan includes a 350- to 400-room convention center space, which would double as a showroom during peak summer periods, Baer said.
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.
Plans include an arcade for the kids and a theater movie complex with at least nine screens.
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.