The $265 million resort casino is being developed by the Biloxi Boardwalk Ventures, LLC, headed by prominent gulf coast businessman Chris Ferrara, on a 23 acre owned site adjacent to the Back Bay in Biloxi, MS. The Sponsor is contributing approximately $35 million dollars in land and building equity, based on 2013 appraisals.
The Sponsor is the President and CEO of Ferrara Fire Apparatus, which was started in 1979 when Chris Ferrara founded Ferrara Firefighting Equipment. By 1992, Ferrara Fire Apparatus was ranked as the tenth largest U.S. manufacturer of fire apparatus, delivering over one hundred heavy duty, custom fire apparatus.
In 1994, Ferrara designed and built a new facility located in Holden, Louisiana, a 200,000 square foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, located between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. The facility, designed around actual stages of production, remains one of the most modern in the industry and incorporates the latest in technology and equipment.
Some of the many Ferrara, benchmarks include the Spirit of Louisiana fire truck that was donated by the citizens of Louisiana, and manufactured by Ferrara Inc., to exact FDNY specifications, marked the first new fire apparatus to be built and donated to the City of New York after September 11.
The company's philosophy, Leading the Way, leaves no reason for doubt that Ferrara will play a major role in the future of the fire apparatus industry. Today, Ferrara Fire Apparatus, consistently ranks in the nation's top five fire truck manufacturers, delivering several hundred custom and commercial fire trucks annually.
The Hartmann Group
Jeff is a well-known and successful casino executive whose career spans 31 years. He started his career at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Philadelphia in 1984, managing casino audits for the firm in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. His clients included MGM Resorts International, formerly the Golden Nugget, the Tropicana Atlantic City and the Atlantic City Claridge.
Jeff transitioned out of public accounting into the casino industry in 1991, and he was selected to join Foxwoods Resort Casino as part of the startup anagement team that opened Foxwoods in February 1992. Over the years, Jeff was intimately involved in all financial aspects of the development and growth at the property. During his five-year tenure, Foxwoods was the most profitable casino in North America.
Following the successful tenure at Foxwoods, Jeff was hired as the Chief Financial Officer of Mohegan Sun in December 1996. Over the eight year period as CFO, Mohegan Sun experienced tremendous growth as the property grew from a large regional casino to the Four Diamond casino resort that it is today. From 2004 to 2010, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Mohegan Sun, maintaining oversight of the corporate financial team while also seeking diversification investments. In 2005, Mohegan acquired the Pocono Downs Racetrack from Penn National. After extensive renovation and expansion, Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs opened in November 2007 as the first casino in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
In 2011, Jeff assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer of Mohegan Sun. Through his leadership and direct work with the Tribal Council, Jeff led the team that developed and implemented capital budgets, revenue and expense forecasts, and annual marketing plans. As CEO, he directed the company’s first strategic planning process, created the company’s vision, maintained the core values, and led the Mohegan Sun executive team.
Most recently, Jeff served as the Interim CEO of Revel Entertainment, LLC in Atlantic City, New Jersey. After the troubled opening of the $2.4 billion dollar resort, he led the company through a pre-packaged bankruptcy and a $40 million dollar cost reduction.
Jeff is now focusing his energy on his new company, The Hartmann Gaming Group, LLC; he brings the best talent in the casino industry to serve the needs of our clients.
Since graduating from Rutgers University in 1984, he has served on boards of many Connecticut not-for-profit institutions, most notably serving as the Vice Chairman of the Connecticut Sports Foundation Against Cancer. Jeff has held key gaming licenses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
Biloxi Boardwalk Ventures
Chief Financial Officer
Steve has over 45 years of experience in commercial lending, finance and general management. He holds a Masters of Business Administration in Economics and a Bachelors of Business Administration in Economics, both obtained from Loyola University of the South in New Orleans, LA.
After 11 years with General Electric Capital, in various regional and national lending and management positions, Steve founded and became the Vice President and General Manager of the Media Finance Group at AT&T Capital Corporation. He was responsible for all aspects of this national organization specializing in senior secured and sub-debt loans for the acquisition and refinance needs of broadcast and cable television companies. Steve later became the Vice President of Marketing for AT&T’s Business Finance Division in Morristown, NJ where he helped develop the strategic direction and marketing activities of four business groups: Small Business Lending Corp. (SBA loans), Franchise Finance, Middle Market Lending and Hyster Credit.
In 1993, Steve began his 11 year tenure at The Cit Group, Inc. As Senior Vice President he directed national marketing, sales and implementation activities (inclusive of underwriting and compliance criteria) for both enterprise value loans and equipment financing that targeted middle market companies operating in regulated and non-regulated industries. Steve’s team was recognized for loan originations that exceeded $3 billion in addition to achieving superior portfolio performance and returns against targeted objectives through several business cycles and ownership changes.
Following CIT, Steve became the National Director/Manager of Specialty Lending at ORIX Finance, targeting middle market M&A and project development opportunities with gaming and sports franchise companies.
At present, Steve is the establishing member of a nationally focused niche debt placement/portfolio management and advisory practice targeting small to mid-size enterprises operating in identified industry segments. As the Founder of Stephen J. Turpin and Associates, LLC, Steve’s primary emphasis is on project advisory, action plan development and implementation.
In addition to project advisory and debt placement services in the Gaming Industry, Stephen J. Turpin and Associates has also provided special asset management services to a Florida community bank, co-founded Southeast Electric Cars, LLC, a regional electric vehicle distribution company and successfully secured numerous debt placement mandates.
Biloxi Boardwalk Ventures
Chief Operating Officer
Bill has been involved in the casino industry for almost 40 years. After beginning his career at the Sahara Tahoe in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, Bill was recruited for and moved to New Jersey and became part of the original management team for the first casino in Atlantic City, Resorts International. After a 10 year tenure, he left Resorts in 1988 and headed to Las Vegas where he was employed in casino management at the Dunes Casino. He then was recruited by and joined the opening management team at the Rio Casino Hotel in Las Vegas.
When riverboat gaming opened in Iowa in 1989, he relocated and helped develop the Diamond Lady Riverboat Casino in the Quad cities area. Steamboat Development, the owner of the Diamond Lady, soon opened another Riverboat Casino in southern Iowa, the Emerald Lady, of which, Bill became the General Manager. Receiving the first gaming license in the State of Mississippi, the company decided to leave Iowa and move both riverboats to Biloxi, Mississippi where they were re-named the Isle of Capri Casinos. Bill was the original Assistant General Manager and Director of Casino Operations for the Isle of Capri from 1993 to 1995, at which time he was named the Vice President and General Manager, a position he held until 2008.
During his time on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Bill was deeply involved with not only the development of the Isle of Capri in Biloxi and the transition of the gaming facility from the two original riverboats to the overall development of the property. The development included gaming and land based gaming operations, restaurants, entertainment, and two hotel towers totaling 757 rooms. He was also involved with the development of several other casino resort properties as The Isle’s portfolio of properties increased.
Bill was an original member of the Mississippi Casino Operators Association where he held the position of Vice President and later served as President for the association. In addition, he served on many civic associations and local boards as well as having been involved in the creation of two major marketing initiatives that have become key tourism events, “The Mississippi Gulf Coast Billfish Tournament” and “Cruising the Coast”.
Bill believes in a drug free work place, a team approach, and treating all team members, regardless of their position, with respect and encouragement. He expects honesty and a strong work ethic from himself and his staff. He has developed and continues to have an excellent rapport with gaming officials and regulators, state and local government leaders including mayors, fire and police chiefs, building officials, and the “press”.
Bill has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism with an emphasis on Advertising and Public relations from Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida.
Biloxi Boardwalk Ventures
Capital Markets Advisor
Bill Newby was the former Senior Client Manager for Bank of America Securities’ Gaming and Leisure Group (part of the Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging group) in Los Angeles. From the time in early 1992 when Mr. Newby was charged with setting up the gaming banking franchise for the old Bank of America, he and a full team of dedicated professionals built Bank of America’s gaming practice into the consistent top performing gaming industry banking group in the sector.
Bank of America was under Mr. Newby the largest and most successful capital raising source to the U.S. and global gaming industry, having raised over $145 Billion in capital since 1992 and an estimated market share of lead-left side debt capital raising of over 50%. Mr. Newby’s team advised and financed the gaming industry’s leading companies in many of the major transactions announced to the date of his departure in late 2008, including Harrah’s Entertainments’ acquisition of Caesars, MGM Mirages’ acquisition of Mirage Resorts and Mandalay Resort Group, Boyd Gaming’s acquisition of Coast Resorts, as well as the TPG/Apollo acquisition of Harrah’s Entertainment and the creation of Wynn Resorts Limited though a combination of equity (IPO), fixed and floating rate debt. Mr. Newby’s team was also the most accomplished arranger and provider of project finance in the casino industry having completed such notable deals as Monte Carlo, Borgata, MGM Macau, Four Winds (Pokagon Band), Aliante Station Casinos and Fontainebleau Las Vegas and Miami.
Further, Mr. Newby’s team was the preeminent provider of capital to Native American tribal gaming ventures with tribal clients across the USA and total capital raised of over $30 Billion through over 50 deals since arranging the first ever tribal casino bank financing in 1995.
Mr. Newby sat on the Board of Directors of the American Gaming Association, the gaming industry’s senior peer council comprised of 17 directors including 15 CEO’s from the most prominent gaming and gaming supply companies in the sector. Mr. Newby was a board member for over 12 years and was one of only two board members from the financial community.
Following his departure from Bank of America, Mr. Newby became the Head of Americas Gaming and Leisure Investment Banking for UBS. Notable transactions during Mr. Newby’s tenure at UBS included lead positions for both Wynn Macau, Limited and Sands China Limited IPOs.
Mr. Newby left UBS in 2010 to become Jefferies LLC’s Global Head of Gaming Investment Banking. Notable transactions included lead left roles for Station Casinos’ purchase of Green Valley Ranch Station Casino and Downstream Development Authority’s (Quapaw Tribe) senior notes issue in 2011. Mr. Newby left Jefferies in July of 2013.
Mr. Newby’s most recent activities include advising Z Capital Partners of Lake Forest, IL, on the acquisition and debt financing of Florida Gaming Centers. Mr. Newby’s responsibilities included the raising of debt capital to compliment Z Cap’s potential equity investment. Mr. Newby successfully raised the required compliment of debt capital but unfortunately Z Cap was unsuccessful with its bid at auction.
Mr. Newby is currently engaged as advisor to the Foxwoods Resort Casino at Biloxi Pointe project in Biloxi, MS. Mr. Newby’s responsibilities include the selection of a casino manager and design/development team (completed 12/14) and the raising of additional equity capital to compliment the sponsor’s prior equity contribution as well as the raising of debt capital to complete the development.
Overall, Mr. Newby has over 30 years of experience in banking. Mr. Newby graduated Magna Cum Laude in History from UCLA. Mr. Newby also received his MBA from UCLA’s Graduate School of Management (now the Anderson School).
Keating Consulting brings four decades of experience and hundreds of projects totaling $8+ Billion yields a wealth of knowledge in the design, development and construction of buildings. We offer that knowledge through work in many capacities – as project manager, development manager and design/development advisor. Keating Consulting is a blend of this experience in one company.
Dan is a well-known and successful businessman whose career spans four decades. He has envisioned and formed companies involved in virtually every aspect of real estate—development, finance, construction and management. Some of this region’s largest and most complicated projects are products of Keating companies.
A current business focus is meeting the rapidly evolving need among clients for new and better managed services. It also taps one of the enduring strengths of a successful entrepreneur: the ability to attract and focus some of the best talent in the business on the needs of those clients.
Mr. Keating’s career is defined by ideas that have transformed the way real estate is developed and built. He will bring these ideas to this project. Since graduating from Villanova University in the early seventies, he has served on the boards of many regional institutions and actively participated in numerous philanthropic activities.
Bob is an architect, planner and construction executive whose forty-year career has been shaped by an exceptionally broad range of project experience in master planning, program development, building design and project management.
During the past twenty five years he has served as a manager and design advisor to the many Keating projects and interests, setting the stage for, and guiding the entitlement and approval process from “idea” to project completion. He has developed innumerable conceptual plans for gaming/hospitality, retail and mixed-use development of virtually all sizes—all directed at gauging the initial feasibility and viability of an idea.
Bob completed undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois and the E’cole de Beaux Arts. He holds graduate degrees in Architecture and City Planning from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a registered architect and member of the Urban Land Institute.