The Point reemerging as entertainment venue and a showcase of S’Klallam art

The new Point Casino - FFKR Architects
The new Point Casino
— image credit: FFKR Architects

LITTLE BOSTON – It says “casino” on the outside, but there’s a lot more to the new Point Casino on the inside.

The new Point is a showcase of S’Klallam art, has an upscale restaurant and two other casual dining choices, and an event center that can seat 760. And for the first time The Point is lining up national headliners: The Marshall Tucker Band (“Heard It In a Love Song,” “Can’t You See”) performs June 28, 8 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are expected to go on sale the end of May for .38 Special (“Hold On Loosely,” “Rockin’ Into the Night”) and Smash Mouth (“Walkin’ on the Sun,” “All Star”).

Scott Laursen, The Point’s marketing director, said comedy and mixed martial arts will be on the lineup soon.

“We’re calling ourselves the Peninsula’s new home for entertainment,” Laursen said. “It’s an all-new animal.”

Kelly Sullivan Baze, deputy director of Tribal Services, said, “I think it’s exciting. I think it’s really good to see such a good product and have it represent the Tribe in a good way. It’s a classy place. Tribal members are going to be very proud.”

The Point opens May 31, 5 p.m.; it’s being called a soft opening, the beginning of a period when staff members become familiar with daily operations and customer service requirements. A grand opening will be held in June.

At 52,000-square-feet, the new Point Casino is more than twice the size of its predecessor; the old casino, which will close when the new Point opens, will be converted to offices.

Tribe officials won’t comment on percentage of increased revenue they expect the new Point to generate, but some of the economic impact is evident from the start. First, there’s the national headliners the Point is attracting. Second, there’s the jobs: The Point is expanding its current staff of 126 employees to more than 200. Third, some officials have said construction of a hotel could be next.

The new Point is a unique structure in Kitsap. It’s built by Sprung Instant Structures, using a recyclable aluminum framework, a tensioned architectural membrane of Kevlar and Teflon that has a lifespan of up to 30 years, and insulation composed of 25 percent recycled post-consumer glass.

Inside, the air is circulated six times every hour by what Laursen calls a supercharged ozonator.

Laursen said he was in a Sprung building in Wisconsin when temperatures dipped to 40 below zero. “We were toasty warm,” he said. Sprung buildings are engineered to withstands winds of up to 150 mph. Buildings include Arctic Watch, the world’s most northerly lodge, located 80 miles south of the magnetic North Pole; and the Kirkwood Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe, Calif., which withstood 9.7 feet of snow in a single week in February 2011.

The grounds of The Point will feature buffers landscaped with plants and trees. There will be more parking, and Sullivan Baze said the Tribe and the county are working to lengthen the turn lane going into The Point, but she doesn’t expect any adverse traffic impacts from the enlarged Point.

The Point will also be a cultural center of sorts. “S’Klallam art is fairly prominent,” Sullivan Baze said. “We are creating labels for them so they are recognized distinctly as art work and not just decoration.

“Areas were built for the art — recessed areas and lighting. We have created a map for people so they can identify art pieces. The most prominent pieces are a nice display of paddles behind the cashier’s cage; large wooden murals that will be displayed, made of old-growth cedar, in the fine dining area; large cedar mats and beautiful baskets. We have a good variation of types of art — panels, masks, drums, carved salmon, weavings.”

Two of The Point’s venues are named for landmarks: Little Boston Bistro and Point Julia Deli. The Tribe will soon solicit bids for two carved cedar welcome figures to grace the entrance. Extra-large canoe paddles will be mounted on the columns at the covered entrance, or porte-cochere.

Construction on The Point began Aug. 15. Port Gamble S’Klallam secured financing for the project last summer through East West Bank. The Tribe contributed $5 million, which was already set aside. The total project amount isn’t being released to the public. An article in the Tribe’s May 2011 newsletter said the Tribe signed a terms sheet with the bank in March 2011, the first step toward securing a $20 million loan.


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