The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is moving forward with its long-proposed resort and anticipates having the first of three hotel towers finished before summer of 2020, tribal officials said Monday.
When it’s all said and done, it will be “unlike anything the Peninsula has seen,” said Ron Allen, the tribe’s CEO. “If it’s as successful as we expect it to be, we expect it to be a destination resort.”
There are also plans for a spa, event center, RV park and a parking garage, though it isn’t yet clear when each would be built. That will be determined on the success of the first phase and the resources the tribe has available, Allen said.
For now the tribe is concentrating on building the five-story tower that will house the hotel lobby and 100 rooms, 25 on each floor above the lobby.
The first phase includes the first 100 rooms, an expansion of the parking area and the lobby “and that’s pretty much it,” Allen said.
Jerry Allen, CEO of 7 Cedars Casino, said the first tower will be located west of the casino between it and the fireworks stand.
He said construction is expected in 2018 and 2019, and the first tower would be completed in 2020.
If it goes as he hopes, the hotel will be open six weeks before Memorial Day weekend in 2020.
Jerry Allen said that the tribe is actively designing the first phase of the hotel and that he hopes renderings will be available to the public within the next 60 to 90 days.
He also said there are plans to both consolidate the casino and add more machines.
The casino now houses 600 machines. In the coming years, the casino could have as many as 750 machines, he said.
He said the resort will likely move forward in “at least five phases.”
Ron Allen said it’s difficult to say what the exact timeline for the project is, but said 10 years would be the goal.
“It’s always relative to the market,” he said. “We need to get the hotel in there as soon as possible and let the dust settle.”
Jerry Allen wouldn’t say how much the tribe expects the resort to cost, but said it would be “considerably more than other projects.”
He said it would be more than $22 million and said “it will be a 4-star experience.”
An amendment to the tribe’s gaming compact was recently approved that allows the tribe to operate an additional casino.
Ron Allen said that at this point the tribe has no plans of adding a second casino to the resort.
In preparation for the hotel the tribe is installing the infrastructure that will be needed to support the resort.
That includes a connection to the Sequim wastewater treatment plant and building a road that loops behind 7 Cedars Casino and connects to U.S. Highway 101 at the Longhouse Deli while vacating a dangerous intersection with the highway.
The plan is to connect Sophus and Corriea Roads — creating the Sophus-Corriea Loop Road — with construction starting in the spring, said Annette Nesse, the tribe’s chief operating officer.
“It’s actually just in the design phase right now and environmental assessment phase,” she said. The tribe is expecting the road project to cost between $7.5 million and $8 million.
“It will provide access to the resort and casino and secondly it will serve as a recreational loop so visitors to the resort can walk or cycle between the casino and the Longhouse market,” Nesse said.
The entire project will be on tribal land, though the tribe is asking Clallam County to vacate an easement and close the section of road where Corriea Road meets Highway 101.
She said all indications are that the county will help the tribe in vacating the road. The plan, she said, will likely be to install a gate that would close access to what is currently Corriea Road.
Ross Tyler, county engineer, said during a meeting last month the county has “dabbled with the thought … for quite awhile, but it just hasn’t evolved.”
“It’s one of those intersections you just know is going to have an accident,” he said. “The fact that it hasn’t had any serious ones is more of a surprise than anything.”
If there is a wreck in the area the tribe would open the gate and reroute highway traffic through the new loop, Nesse said.
The tribe has long discussed plans for the resort, but Jerry Allen said that the Great Recession stalled plans.
He said he has proposed designs from talks in the early 2000s, but now the efforts are finally moving forward.
“We’re locked into a schedule and it’s becoming a reality,” Ron Allen said.
Jesse Major is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. He can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.