Indian gaming jurisdictions across the U.S. continue to show strong revenue results, so it should come as no surprise that tribal gaming operators are looking to take advantage of this continued good fortune by developing new, ground-up casinos as well as expanding the entertainment and lodging offerings at existing resort facilities.
These developments run the gamut from the construction of major new properties and smaller fill-in casinos to amenity expansion and even carve-outs of existing space for specialty features such as smoke-free and high-limit gaming parlors. Below you will find updates on some of the new projects that caught the eyes of Casino Journaleditors:
New Properties: The Cowlitz tribe and its partner, Uncasville, Conn-based Mohegan Sun, have broken ground on the Cowlitz Project,a $32 million, 368,000-square-foot gaming destination located in southwest Washington, 20 miles from Vancouver. According to company literature, the Cowlitz Project will include 100,000 square feet of gaming space with 2,500 slots and 80 gaming tables, 15 different restaurants, bars and retail outlets and a 2,500-seat meeting and entertainment venue. The Friedmutter Group is the architect for the property, and the design of the facility feature elements indigenous to the Pacific Northwest and heritage of the Cowlitz Tribe. Kara Fox-LaRose has recently brought on as general manager for the Cowlitz Project, which is slated to open in late spring of 2017.
The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe has announced plans to develop Project First Light, a gaming resort that will be located in Taunton, Mass. Plans call for a $500 million mixed-use facility with a 4,400-gaming position casino, three 300-room hotels, an events center, fine dining, a 24-hour restaurant, an international buffet, a food court, retail stores, a 25,000 square-foot water park, a 4,486- space parking garage and approximately 1,171 surface parking spaces. The project still is waiting approval and a license from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.
On a much smaller scale, the Minnesota-based White Earth Nation recently announced that they would build a third Shooting Star Casino in the community of Dent, Minn. The property, which will be designed by Cuningham Group and is slated to open in 2017, will offer slots, tables, a bar & grill, ballroom and a buffet. The casino property will also house a gift shop, deli, hotel and an RV Park.
Amenity Development: Thunder Valley Casino Resort, a Lincoln, Calif.-based gaming facility owned and operated by the United Auburn Indian Community, recently unveiled plans to add 111 luxury rooms and suites to its hotel this year. The project will include a complete renovation of its existing 297 rooms within the seventeen story tower. YWS will provide architectural and interior design services for the project while Flint Builders will oversee the build-out process for the rooms. The room additions are expected to take 18 months to complete.
Late last year, the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians broke ground on a two year, $285 million expansion for its Temecula, Calif.-based Pechanga Resort & Casino. Plans call for the property to double its resort amenities with the addition of a new, AAA Four Diamond, 568-room and suite hotel wing; a stand-alone luxury two-story spa and salon with 17 treatment rooms, a fitness center and hydrotherapy pool terrace; a resort-style pool complex with eight pool areas; two new restaurants; and an additional 67,000 square feet of event space. Tutor-Perini has been tapped as the project’s builder.
The Alabama-based Poarch Band of Creek Indians recently completed a $65 million renovation at its Wind Creek Casino & Hotel Montgomery. The improvements included the construction of a five-story hotel that boasts 123 rooms, including eight suites, an events center, a full-service, high-end salon, retail space and an infinity pool.