Grand Traverse reveals $80mn project

Ron Olson, CEO of Grand
Traverse Resort & Casinos, has announced plans to
develop a new casino resort at the site of the current Turtle Creek Casino
in Williamsburg, near Traverse City, Mich.An October groundbreaking is planned for the 347,000-square-foot casino
resort, which will include a 120-room state-of-the-art hotel,
64,000-square- foot gaming floor, concert/entertainment venues,
restaurants, and shops.
  The architectural firm of Walsh Bishop in Minneapolis, Minn. was hired
to design the new casino resort. Walsh Bishop designs of note include the
300,000-square-foot Isleta Resort & Casino in Albuquerque, N.M. and the
370,000-square-foot Mystic Lake Casino in Prior Lake, Minn. Financing will
be through National City Bank and PCL Construction Services, Inc. in
Burnsville, Minn. was hired to oversee construction.
  Tribal Chairman Robert Kewaygoshkum stated, “This is an exciting time
for the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. We are very
proud of the success of our businesses and their financial benefits for our
people and the economy of the Grand Traverse region. Our sustained success
is allowing us to further invest in the tourism infrastructure of the
Traverse City area.”
  Olson stated, “Our new casino resort will be unique to the Midwest in
its design and business model. We will provide an enjoyable and secure
gaming experience that our casinos have become renowned for, while bringing
Midwest casino excitement and entertainment to a completely new level. It
will be a truly outstanding experience for Northern Michigan residents and
an exceptionally attractive vacation destination for guests from other
  During construction of the new casino resort, the Tribe’s existing
Turtle Creek Casino will remain in operation and will close when the new
casino resort opens. The Grand Traverse Band also plans to continue owning
and operating Leelanau Sands Casino in Peshawbestown and Grand Traverse
Resort & Spa in Acme.
  Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos is the Economic Development Corporation
of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, which owns and
operates Leelanau Sands Casino in Peshawbestown and Turtle Creek Casino in
Williamsburg. The Grand Traverse Band has been in the casino gaming
business since 1984, and owns and operates other economic development
ventures including Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, four miles west of Turtle
Creek Casino. In addition, the Tribe also owns and operates one hotel,
several restaurants, a conference center, and a convenience store.
  In fiscal 2005, (October 2004 - September 2005), the Grand Traverse
Band’s economic impact included nearly $115.5 million in gross revenues,
over $33 million in combined payroll, $5 million in federal, state and
local taxes, and business relationships with over 400 vendors in the
region. In addition, since 1994, the Grand Traverse Band has paid out $18
million in 8 percent state government revenue sharing payments and $17
million in 2 percent revenue sharing payments to local governments.