Tribe sketches out plans for larger casino

REDMOND — Gathered around a table at Jensen Fey Architecture and Planning’s main office, officials from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and other companies involved in the new Point Casino building refined details of the project Monday. With an “aggressive” completion date sometime in late-2008, the tribe doesn’t want to waste any time getting its next development plan designed.

The morning gathering brought representatives from all groups currently involved for an all-day meeting to go over the details of the site and floor plans and the site development with a fine tooth comb, working out kinks and deciding what would be best for the new casino and hotel.

“Our market, our extended market, is people who do more than penny slots,” said Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Chief Executive Officer Doug Quade. “People are looking for a nice place to go.”

The tribe is hoping the new casino and hotel complex, almost 100,000 square feet in total, will draw more than just local residents, but is also working to keep a taste of the current, smaller gaming facility for visitors who are nostalgic. The new casino will feature a “locals’ room,” an area off the main gaming space for residents who will miss the small feel of the present Point Casino. The casino will also boast a non-smoking room, a Players Club room, entertainment and different restaurants for different tastes, including a fine dining area.

“We have significant parking to the north and south sides of the casino,” said Jensen Fey Architecture and Planning Principal Charles Fritzemeier. “It’s close to the main entrance and the hotel entrance, there we have significant parking. We also have the locals’ entrance... The other thing we have done is the hotel tower. It will be eight floors of rooms, after three floors for other functions.”

The hotel, which will be attached to the casino, will have a lobby area, a second floor with either offices or meeting rooms and a third floor of offices. It will feature about 90 rooms of different sizes and pricing. The tribe wants to be able to display the area’s view, and the floors with rooms will showcase different aspects of the North End’s scenery. The entire complex, including retail space for other companies looking to branch out, will be located north of the Gliding Eagle Market and gas station and south of the current Point Casino building. That structure has been incorporated into the plans as a back of the house location for behind-the-scenes operations.

“The main thing we want to do is make the existing customers feel comfortable in this space,” Quade said.

Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe Owners’ Representative Corky Berg is working with Kitsap County on potential road improvements along Hansville Road and Little Boston Road, Fritzemeier said. He added there will be left-hand turn lanes installed along Hansville Road for the two proposed entrances there, and potentially a turn lane on Little Boston for that ingress.

North End residents will have a chance to comment on the project some time before the end of the year. Tribal officials and Fritzemeier said they would hold a public meeting around mid-December after hammering out the remainder of the details to gain public input.

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