Tulalip holds groundbreaking for QCC replacement

Tulalip Tribes Board of Directors prepare to break ground on new Quil Ceda Creek Casino with celebratory gold shovels.

By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

Members of the Tulalip Tribes, various officials, and employees were in attendance at a groundbreaking ceremony held at the future site of the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino (QCC) on Tuesday, December 12.

“I raise my hands to everyone who came here to celebrate with us,” greeted vice-Chairwoman, Teri Gobin. “What an honor it is to take part in this journey for the Tribe. It’s so exciting we’re finally doing this groundbreaking, and to think what it means for the Tribe and our community, creating new jobs and helping with economic development. This will be a good project for our whole community and the surrounding communities that benefit from our type of development.”

The multi-million dollar project to relocate the QCC facility from its current location to a sixteen-acre property across the street is based on a number of factors, the most prominent being a stagnant revenue stream that is unable to grow due to logistical and structural challenges posed by the current facility.

“We’re replacing [the existing QCC] because it is bursting at the seams,” explained Les Parks, Board of Director and Treasurer. “The revenue cannot grow anymore, they are using every square foot they can, and our customers are screaming for more machines and a hotel to stay at. This new journey is going to get us there.”

The project cost is “rolled into the $155 million syndicated loan that includes the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino and hotel, its parking structure, and the future Gathering Hall,” continued Les. “This is the same amount that was approved by General Council two years ago. Without increasing the loan amount, we were able to add in the hotel by extending the deferred payment process, which is typical of loans we do, to put more money towards actual construction.”

The new casino will span across 110,000 square feet that will allow for 1,500 gaming machines, a lofty increase from the current 1,000 operating at the existing QCC. Besides the additional 500 machines, there will be additional table games, an innovative dining hall experience, an upgraded entertainment venue, and a state of the art smoke elimination system included in the new QCC.

In recent weeks, the Tribe announced the new QCC with also feature a 150-room hotel and 1,200-stall parking garage. The property will be called Quil Ceda Creek Casino Hotel and is expected to open in spring 2019.

“We have a tag phrase: ‘It’s not just bigger and better, there’s more to love’,” stated Ken Kettler, President of Tulalip Gaming Operations. “When you think about it, we’re just expanding on the experience we have today and we’re going to give you more of it. It keeps us competitive and protects the current revenue stream. The competition is pretty tough out there, so we, as a leader, have to step up and set the example of what can happen at a local’s casino.”

New Look in the New Year for Tulalip’s hotel

A glimpse at one of the renovated rooms at Tulalip Resort Casino hotel. Photo/Micheal Rios
A glimpse at one of the renovated rooms at Tulalip Resort Casino hotel.
Photo/Micheal Rios



By Micheal Rios, Tulalip News 

A new year brings hope. A new year triggers a desire to change an aspect of your life. An optimistic spirit of “new year, new me” motivates many to make a New Year’s resolution. Even the casual social media user had their timeline plastered with New Year’s resolution aims, goals, lyrics, or memes. Most people declared to do more or less of something in their day-to-day lives, such as eating healthier, exercising on a regular basis, losing weight, quitting a bad habit, or learning how to better manage money.

Well, as a brand and as a resort destination, the Tulalip Resort Casino has made a New Year’s resolution of its own: to return as the standard bearer for luxury accommodations that balance artistry, stylish elegance, and an abundance of comfort.

When the Tulalip Resort Casino (TRC) opened in May 2008 there was no question who had the most luxurious accommodations in the area, it was Tulalip. Fast-forward nearly eight years to the present and the TRC no longer stands head and shoulders above the rest. Over the past eight years, many tribes in the state have followed Tulalip’s lead and built their own resort casinos. Those with standalone casinos have added a hotel, those with a subpar hotel have upped their game by remodeling, and then there are the tribes who decided to enter the gaming world and invest in newly constructed resort casinos. All this is to say Tulalip now has competition where once there wasn’t any.

“Since we’ve opened our tower and been operating the Tulalip Resort Casino, we’ve seen Swinomish open their property, Silver Reef has opened their second tower, Angels has opened their new property, and Clear Water has added a tower,” explains Sam Askew, General Manager of Tulalip’s “four-diamond rated” hotel. “The competition, in terms of gaming within the state, have all upped their game because they want to emulate what Tulalip has done and continues to do.”




Over the past eight years, the accommodations industry has seen trends change and upgrades in technology, furnishings, and in-room amenities that are now in demand by today’s guests. Frequent guests of resort casinos can notice the difference in room quality from an out of date accommodation, as do tribal members who have stayed at other newly minted hotels in the region. Because of this, the Tulalip Board of Directors and TRC executive staff deemed it time to renovate the hotel guest rooms and bring back the WOW-factor that Tulalip is known for.

Of the two new room designs to be implemented in the renovation, it’s the Tulalip design that will be most prevalent. The Tulalip room design is self-evident; everything from the predominantly red and black color scheme, styling, design elements, artwork and even the carpet graphics have you feel like you are at Tulalip. Everything in this room is designed and geared for Tulalip culture and history, whether it’s a weaving token, fishing reference, or a stunning piece of artwork created by Tulalip artists James Madison and Joe Gobin.




Bringing back the WOW-factor to the guest rooms will include introducing many new enhancements to each room.

“One of the interesting things, too, is that most of the guest enhancements in the new rooms come from a culmination of guest requests and suggestions, recommendations from our facility and maintenance teams, and our continued mission to provide the best service we can,” says GM Sam Askew. “Guest enhancements include an improved heating and cooling system, in-room refrigerator, lowered countertops, vessel sinks, improved ventilation in the bathroom, new electrical outlets with USB ports to charge your electronic devices, faster in-room WiFi, and all TVs will be smart TVs with over 100 channels provided by Tulalip Broadband. There will also be smart media hubs in each room so that you can hook up a gaming system, tablet or even PC to the TV. We’ve also got state of the art Bluetooth enabled smart mirrors in the bathroom, so you can listen to your favorite music while enjoying Tulalip’s famous shower.”




So from a whole new design with new and upgraded technology, furnishings, and amenities that will make guests have no doubt they are staying in Tulalip, to a whole list of guest enhancements that will continue to grow as renovation is underway and new ideas are introduced, Tulalip will be getting its WOW back.

“For us, I think the big takeaway will be the rooms clearly identified as Tulalip. There will be no ifs, ands, or buts about it, when you see the room you’ll know it’s a Tulalip room. I’m proud of that,” continues GM Sam Askew. “In our industry most people go with safe and comfortable, but here we’re able to go with WOW and a sense of heritage and belonging. For me, that part is the best. It demonstrates the culture of service we are known for at Tulalip and it also demonstrates the Tribes long-term commitment and vision.”

TRC guest room renovation is currently underway and estimated completion is March 31, 2017. Be sure to follow Tulalip News on Facebook  for updates as the renovation is ongoing.




Colville Tribes Plan First Hotel With Casino

“This will be our first hotel,” Mike Finley, chairman of the Colville Business Council, said. The Confederated Colville Tribes own three small casinos but no hotels. Surface preparation and some excavation for the site of the new Omak Casino Resort will begin about April 15, so cars can reach the location and people can attend the ground breaking projected for early May. The anticipated opening is about 12 months later.

Randy Williams is Director of Corporate Gaming for the tribes and he outlined details of the complex. “It’s a $43 million project. It includes a 57,000-square-foot casino and an 80-room hotel. The hotel will be between a three- and four-star hotel, so it’s upscale and will be nice. We’ll have 500 machines in this casino plus table games, two lounges and two restaurants. It will create about 200 jobs in both the casino and hotel.”

The casino/hotel will be located on reservation property south of the town of Omak, Washington. The population is quite low, but it’s only about 45 miles from the Canadian border. “We’re expecting to get a large pool from Canada, as we do now,” Finley said. “We expect some will stay longer and spend more of their disposable income as we’ll have a hotel.”

Omak Casino Resort will also be the first destination resort in Okanogan County and is expected to be an economic boon to the region as it will attract conferences.

The casino portion will be twice the size of the tribes’ Mill Bay Casino located on a trust parcel near Lake Chelan. It will also replace the tribes’ Okanogan Bingo Casino. The new casino is expected to largely employ tribal members, Finley commented.

Taylor-Woodstone Construction will oversee development; the Bloomington, Minnesota-based company has worked with a number of tribes on other casino projects, plus the huge Palazzo Casino Resort in Las Vegas, among others.

The Colville Tribal Federal Corporation is fully finnacing the project. “They’re the sole signer on the loan, and it’s the first loan the Colville Tribe has not had to guarantee. The tribes’ commitment to business development certainly has exhibited itself over the past few years.”

This area is rich in cultural history. Five years ago, ground was being broken for a $24 million casino also near Omak, but when artifacts and human remains were discovered, the project was immediately shut down. “We ordered a full archeological excavation be done in that area,” Finley said. “It turned out to be the oldest recorded archeological site on the reservation.” That location will remain undeveloped; this new hotel/casino complex is a larger version of the previous, derailed plan.


Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/03/31/colville-tribes-plan-first-hotel-casino-154241

Angel of the Winds Casino breaks ground on hotel expansion

An artist's rendering of what the new hotel at the Angel of the Winds Casino will look like, once it's complete in 2015.— image credit: Courtesy image.
An artist’s rendering of what the new hotel at the Angel of the Winds Casino will look like, once it’s complete in 2015.
— image credit: Courtesy image.

By Kirk Boxleitner, Arlington Times Reporter

ARLINGTON — Friday, Oct. 25, saw the Angel of the Winds Casino officially break ground on construction of a new $20-million, 125-room, five-story hotel.

“This is the next step in our growth of the Angel of the Winds Casino,” said Koran Andrews, CEO of the Stillaguamish Tribal Enterprise Corporation. “We continue to look at what our guests want, and develop those amenities.”

“We are truly blessed to have an opportunity to add a hotel to our facility, and provide more services to our guests,” Stillaguamish Tribal Chair Shawn Yanity said of the expansion, which will add more than 100,000 square feet to the casino, in the form of not only a new hotel, but also a new gift shop and smoke shop, as well as a porte-cochere to centralize guests’ entrances to the property. “Not only are we growing our tribal economy, but we’re growing the local economy, too, by increasing job opportunities and tourism.”

According to Travis O’Neil, general manager of the Angel of the Winds Casino, planning for the new hotel expansion began roughly 18 months ago, but the possibility of such an expansion was factored into the casino’s plans shortly before its previous expansion six years ago.

“We’ve got a master plan, but we also listen to our guests,” O’Neil said. “We blocked out the space for this sort of expansion, because we always had in mind that the Angel of the Winds Casino would become a destination resort. We might as well reach for the stars. We’ve got a good group of people, who do their best for our guests, and the Stillaguamish Tribe has been willing to support us, so long as they see our accomplishments.”

As far as O’Neil is aware, the Angel of the Winds Casino is one of the last, if not the last, casino on the I-5 corridor to add its own hotel, and he touted the new hotel — which is anticipated to open in the winter or spring of 2015, creating an estimated additional 50 jobs for the local community in the process — as “moderately priced, but not lower-end.”

“The hotel will be just as comfortable and nice as they’ve come to expect from the casino,” O’Neil said. “It promises to be a very good complement to the World’s Friendliest Casino.”

Beyond the jobs that will be created once the new hotel opens, O’Neil also touted the local construction jobs that will be created in the meantime, since he expects that the Bellingham-based Excel Pacific will retain a number of subcontractors, whose employees he believes will likely include more than a few folks from Marysville and Arlington.

“We’ve got other steps in our master plan, but it would be premature to discuss those at this point,” O’Neil said. “For right now, we just want to focus on making this hotel a success, and I just want to thank the Stillaguamish Tribe for the opportunities they’ve given me in this job. Their elders paved the way for this, and they’re supporting it because they’re mindful of leaving something to their future generations. It’s been a blessing to work with them.”

The Angel of the Winds Casino is located three minutes east of I-5 Exit 210 in Arlington.