Ilani Casino Progress Continues

by Kyle Miller

Ilani CasinoThe Cowlitz tribes continues to be on schedule with the Ilani Casino construction.

A new casino has been in the works for some time within the state of Washington and according to recent reports, the venue is still on schedule. The Ilani Casino will be located in the La Center area of Washington, offering players a fun place to enjoy gaming as well as entertainment and dining. The Cowlitz tribe is behind the project and have commented that almost 70% of their employee workforce has been hired and they are making great strides when it comes to the construction of the $510 million facility.

Work Continues

One concern of the area was the local traffic and freeway interchange. The tribe understood these concerns and has been working on a freeway interchange project with a cost of $40 million to be able to ensure traffic regulations and ease. According to the President and Gaming Manager for Ilani Casino, Kara Fox-LaRose, the project is about 80% completed. For water issues, $15 million was set aside to work on a water reclamation plant to treat the sewage of the property with work set to be completed by mid-month.

The update was provided to the public by Fox-LaRose during a lunch meeting at the Lion’s Club to update what the tribe has been working on within the venue. The project should be completed by April with an opening date pending for the middle of the month.

Fox-LaRose stated that the tribe wants the Ilani to be a sought-after facility. They want to see people leave and tell friends and family about their experience. They want repeat visitors, those who will come back again and again. The tribe is looking to create long-term stability and remain competitive.

What the Property will Offer

It is believed that over 4.5 million people will visit the casino each year which has many concerned about traffic impact. However, the traffic project should see a complete reworking of exit 16 off Interstate 5 to solve these issues by the time the casino opens in the spring. According to Fox-LaRose, the casino will not open until the bridge work is done and the traffic impact is migrated.

The casino will feature a large gaming space at its center with options for non-gaming visitors as well including shopping, restaurant dining, event space to feature concerts, banquet space and more. On the weekends, an entertainment lounge will feature free concerts with access to these areas without even setting foot on the gaming floor.

National and local brands will be featured at the food court with visitors able to enjoy mountain views via the outdoor patios. Within the next few weeks, the tribe plans on releasing the brand names of the restaurants that will be located on-site.

The design of the property includes elements of the Cowlitz Tribe culture but will not be exclusively tribal. Art installments have been made for the property to evoke feeling as well as be visually appealing. One installment features a blown-glass sculpture depicting a school of fish. The overall design was built around a four-star guest experience.

The project is moving along rather quickly with the space for employees and the operator’s team being created as of now. Gaming equipment is also being delivered. Most of the casino will be ready for operation by April but some parts will not go live right away. A planned bowling alley and sports bar will not open until later. A hotel will also be constructed nearby but will not be available for a two year time frame. The creation of the hotel will actually be dependent on how well the casino does once fully operational.