Lots of interest failed to turn into a sale Wednesday of the Admiral, a 70-year fixture on the St. Louis riverfront.
St. Louis Marine, which bought the Admiral this year from Pinnacle Entertainment, got no sufficient bids by the auction deadline. Auctioneer Virgil Straeter said he got dozens of offers online, none acceptable to the owner and many unrealistically low, including some for $1.
A few people showed up Wednesday for the advertised sale but no one made a bid. Unless a deal is reached in the next day or so, plans will be made to auction off the Admiral's remaining contents Nov. 21.
Pinnacle removed all the gambling equipment when it closed the Admiral's President Casino in June. Tables, chairs, signs, restaurant equipment, tools, party supplies, Christmas decorations and even uniforms worn by President Casino workers are what remains.
In 2006, Pinnacle bought the Admiral out of bankruptcy for $45.7 million and considered making it part of its Lumière Place just up the riverbank. But by last year, the President's business had fallen by two-thirds from 2006.
The Missouri Gaming Commission moved this year to pull the President's gaming license because of poor performance. After a two-month standoff, Pinnacle agreed to surrender the license and close what had become a somewhat shabby casino.
The once-luxurious boat sits on a barge built in 1907. Refitted in 1940 with a sleek Art Deco steel skin, the Admiral was for decades a popular excursion vessel on the Mississippi River.
Concerns about hull strength prompted the boat's permanent mooring in 1979. A businessman from Pittsburgh bought the Admiral in 1981, removed the engines, and months later sold the boat to St. Louis interests.
A multimillion-dollar entertainment center Six Flags Corp. operated on the Admiral was a flop. In 1994, the Admiral and its President Casino opened on the first day of legalized gambling in Missouri.
Among those who examined the Admiral on Wednesday was Pete Tully, owner of Polestar Marina on the Mississippi in St. Charles County. Tully also owns the Belle Angeline, an excursion boat once moored on the St. Louis riverfront. That boat, currently unused, is moored now at Polestar.
Tully said he might offer the Admiral's owner mooring room at Polestar. The Admiral must relocate by Dec. 15 to allow removal of walkways and a barge between the boat and shore.