MILWAUKEE -- Officials broke ground Thursday, July 12th on the new four-star, 20-story hotel expansion of the Potawatomi Bingo Casino. The new hotel will be located in front of the casino on Canal Street.
Earlier this year, the Milwaukee City Plan Commission approved the hotel and now, construction can begin.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community will develop the $150-million dollar four-star hotel, which will have 20 floors and 380 rooms. The hotel will also have a spa, restaurant and a four-story parking structure.
Potawatomi estimates the hotel will create about 1,000 construction jobs and 230 permanent jobs. The Forest County Potawatomi Community wants to hire minority contractors for at least one-fifth of the demolition, construction and interior work.
“One of the things they focus on is inclusion and diversity. It’s tough for contractors to get ahead in this economy that we live in, especially minority contractors. We want to give them this opportunity,” Ryan Amundson, communications manager for Potawatomi Bingo Casino said.
Jeff Fleming with the Department of City Development said the hotel will help the city in ways the casino cannot. Since the casino is on tribal land, it does not pay property taxes. The hotel, however, will not be on tribal ground and will pay both a property and room tax. Fleming says those dollars would go to county schools and the convention and visitors’ bureau.
"It's a great investment. There's an excitement here, there's an energy here. People are willing to invest, and people are willing to invest because they see this as a city that's having a Renaissance right now," Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said.
It is estimated that the hotel will generate $10 million a year in revenue for the city of Milwaukee and the county.
"They will spend their money here at the casino, as well as in the city, and exploring the city and finding out what Milwaukee is all about," Potawatomi General Manager Michael Goodrich said.
The hotel is expected to take two years to complete -- so it should be open by 2014.
No tax dollars are being used to fund this project. All $150 million comes from private investors.
Reservations are not being accepted currently, but people can keep up with hotel construction progress and other news at http://www.paysbig.com/hotel/hotel-construction-project.