Little Boston gets big

Project plans for Phase I and II lay the groundwork for the new Port Gamble Casino Resort. - Courtesy Art
Project plans for Phase I and II lay the groundwork for the new Port Gamble Casino Resort.
— image credit: Courtesy Art

t Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe plans

to sharpen its Point.

PORT GAMBLE — Little Boston won’t be little much longer.

It took less than one year for Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and Jensen Fey Architects to lay out plans to replace the current 17,000 square-foot Point No Point Casino with a 100,000 square foot gambling center.

The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Resort Casino-Hotel is projected to cover 22 acres with hopes of acquiring a total of 120 acres for development of a community and shopping center with walking and hiking trails.

The projected size is half that of the Olhava development in Poulsbo. From opening day, Feb. 14, 2002, the casino has grown from 150 slot machines in a 10,000 square-foot building to its current size with more than 580 machines.

“We outgrew the facility the day it opened,” said Leo Culloo, general manager of Point No Point Casino, who added the casino attracts more than 400,000 visitors annually. “As soon as we opened the doors we started looking into what it would take for redesign.”

The first phase of the casino-hotel, scheduled to break ground in July or August, is estimated to cost more than $100 million, said Doug Quade, chief executive officer of the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe.

During construction, the Point No Point Casino will remain open and construction plans will be available inside for the public to view. Completion of the first phase is scheduled for Thanksgiving 2009.

“We need to build a facility that meets the needs of our current and projected customers,” Culloo said. “With the current space and size limitations there is not enough room for the young crowd.”

Besides the estimated 975 slot machines, 18 to 20 table games and a few poker tables, the casino will also house a fine dining restaurant, sports bar, martini bar, scotch and cigar bar, buffet, live entertainment and banquet catering.

In the second stage, more emphasis is placed on the construction of the hotel. Plans are for 13 to 15 stories with a dance club on the top level.

Depending on revenue generated from the casino, two more hotel towers could be built.

About 200 more employees will be hired due to the size of the hotel-casino. Currently the casino employes 135 people.

Besides attracting a younger crowd, Culloo said it is necessary to take care of their regulars.

About 60 percent of clientele is age 60 and above.

“Our main focus is those who’ve been with us all along,” Culloo said. “They are what made us successful and we need to take that into account. Their main concern is the personal touch and family feel will be lost but it won’t. We won’t let that happen.”

In fact, a separate “local entrance” is designed to a special section of the new casino.

“It’s really to honor them,” Quade said, adding they helped to pay for it through their patronage.

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