17-story casino-condo complex planned for Jacó

Artist rendering of the new building.

A ground breaking is scheduled June 20 in Jacó for a 17-story casino resort.

The business, to be known as Croc’s, is expected to be in operation by December 2014. The building will be on the north side of the central Pacific community.

Owners are Dag and Jennifer Hascall. He is the owner of a Michigan steel company and other businesses there. His cousin, Rory Hascall, identified as a long-time Las Vegas executive, will operate and manage the business.

A press release said that Dag Hascall owned the property but did not have a solid development plan. That is when Rory Hascall came into the picture. The management team has been spending the last year assembling permits.

Croc’s Casino Resort represents an investment of at least $30 million, according to informal sources, and the plan is to hire 300 employees. The release said that this would make the casino the biggest employer in the region.

The firm is planning 152 hotel rooms and 44 condominium residences, it said. The project is being called a Las Vega-style casino with a beachfront pool, restaurants, a disco, a spa, retail shopping and convention facilities.

In keeping with the name, also planned is a habitat for crocodiles. A spokesperson said that the casino operators will be very aware of the health of the reptiles and that veterinarian facilities will be maintained nearby. Approval for this still is pending.

The Jacó area is known for its crocodiles. A major tourist attraction is the overlook on the Costenera bridge over the Río Grande de Tárcoles where crocodiles always are lounging on the mud flats below. Surfers are probably not aware that genetic tests show that male crocodiles at least travel in the ocean from one river mouth to the other.

With the crocodile habitat, tourists will be able to get a much closer look.

Dag Hascall is president of Hascall Steel Co. in Grandville, Michigan. But he is no stranger to overseas projects. A biography provided by the company said that he moved to Katmandu, Nepal, where he operated a firm that manufactured, exported and imported jewelry and handicrafts.

The Costa Rican firm PM Arquitectos designed the structure. Renderings show a three-tone building with bridges connecting some of the upper floors to span an area open to the ocean breezes. The firm has established a Web site and is pre-selling the condos.

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