Friday, Sept. 18, 2009 | 4:59 p.m.
A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Thursday on the American Indian casino in Michigan that will be managed by Station Casinos.
The Las Vegas-based casino company and The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians broke ground on the $157 million Gun Lake Casino on the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians’ reservation in Bradley, Mich., after years of lawsuits and delays.
The first phase of the project will include an 83,000-square-foot facility, about one-half the size of the original plan.
Construction is expected to last 10 months to a year, instead of the 16 to 18 months the initial plan would have taken. The first phase will include 1,200 slots, 36 table games, a 300-seat restaurant, food court, casino bar and entertainment lounge.
“Given the current economic conditions, it makes sense for us to build this project in phases,” Gun Lake Tribal Chairman D.K. Sprague said in a statement earlier this month. “This will allow us to bring jobs to our area sooner, and we look forward to planning and developing the next phase as the economy recovers.”
The Gun Lake tribe estimates the new casino will bring 60,000 guests to area hotels each year. The Gun Lake Casino plans don’t call for a hotel.
The new casino will bring 600 casino jobs, as well as 750 jobs during the construction period, the tribe said.
In January, the U.S. Department of Interior assigned 147 acres in Allegan County, Mich., as reservation land for the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.
The Gun Lake Casino will be operated by the tribe’s management partner, MPM Enterprises, LLC, which is owned by a subsidiary of Station Casinos and private investors in Michigan. Station Casinos currently manages Thunder Valley Casino in Lincoln, Calif., which is owned by the United Auburn Indian Community.