The Nisqually tribe is set to begin work on a $45 million expansion of Red Wind Casino, yet another reminder of the tribe’s rapid ascent the past few years.
Following on the heels of its recently completed tribal center, the tribe now is expected to begin work next month that will expand the casino by another 42,700 square feet to 95,000 square feet and add a 600-space parking structure.
“It’s a pretty significant investment into the community,” said Michael Cade, executive director of Thurston County Economic Development Council about the planned casino expansion.
“The tribe has shown a history to further economic development in the region,” he added.
A groundbreaking ceremony is set for Nov. 1 and the work is expected to be finished about a year from now, said John Simmons, chairman of the Medicine Creek Enterprise Corp., the company that oversees the casino. Simmons also is director of community services for the tribe.
Once the project is complete, it will house an expanded gaming area, expanded room for the casino’s three restaurants and an expanded nonsmoking area, he said.
It will not be home to a hotel, Simmons said.
The new, 600-space parking structure is about 100 spaces larger than the existing parking structure.
The project also will create about 70 jobs, pushing total employment at the casino to about 400, he said.
Most of those jobs are nontribal, he said.
Nisqually Tribal Council Chairwoman Cynthia Iyall could not be reached Monday, but in a statement, she said the investment bodes well for the future of the tribe.
“The tribal council wants to provide long-term opportunities for our members and their families — opportunities for good jobs, good health care, good homes, and good education,” Iyall said. “We especially want to provide quality care for our elders.”
Red Wind Casino, which opened in 1997, is helping to drive the tribe’s growth, with people “two and three deep behind the gaming machines,” Simmons said.
Here are some other notable projects, either completed or announced by the tribe:
• In May, the tribe opened its 26,000-square-foot tribal center, which is home to many of the services used by its 760 members.
• In 2012, the tribe and Bellevue developer Mon Wig paid $23 million to acquire a 215-acre parcel in Hawks Prairie that was once set to be developed by Tri Vo. The tribe also previously purchased 37 acres nearby, giving them about 250 acres in Hawks Prairie.
• In 2010, the tribe opened its 34,000-square-foot Youth and Community Center.
Other projects include extending a wastewater treatment system and the completion of a regional jail, also known as a public safety complex.
Work on the complex is expected to be done early next year, Simmons said.
Korsmo Construction of Tacoma, which built the tribal center, is the general contractor for the Red Wind Casino expansion.
Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 email@example.com