2020 vision: Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe moves ahead on hotel plans

Service road work expected to start soon

The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is moving forward on its long-planned hotel and resort at 7 Cedars Casino, firming up plans to open a five-story, 100-room hotel before summer of 2020.

Construction on a service road that loops from the casino and hotel to the Longhouse Deli begin within this month as the tribe eyes breaking ground on the hotel in January or February of 2019.

Construction of the hotel is expected to last about 15 to 16 months, said Jerry Allen, CEO of 7 Cedars Resort.

Allen said he is appreciative of the support from the tribal council as the project moves forward, “because it’s a big bet, a bet we’ll be living with for awhile,” he said. “The fact they are letting us take this leap is exciting.”

He said the tribe is breaking into a new level of the hospitality industry on the Olympic Peninsula with the $40 million project, which will be funded with a combination of cash and debt.

He said the tribe selected Swinerton Builders of Bellevue as the contractor for the project.

Allen said the hotel — which will be close to a four-star experience — will be a cultural experience for visitors, with each floor featuring a different element, such as water, land, trees and the sky.

“As a tribe, each of these elements is important,” he said.

The hotel will be located to the west of the existing 7 Cedars Casino on tribal land.

The tribe is currently working with Rice Fergus Miller Architecture on design choices that will tell the story of the Pacific Northwest and the northwest region tribes’ history and culture.

The first floor will house a large lobby; conference, meeting and banquet space; a coffee bar; and administrative offices. The four upper floors will offer 100 rooms decorated in Northwest style.

The tribe has longer-range plans that include adding additional towers and enhancing the experience more, but it could be a few years before that starts, he said.

Allen said the tribe will look at revenues after about two years and determine the path forward.

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 on what resources the tribe has available, officials have said.

The tribe will soon begin 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.

Allen said this road is critical to the construction of the hotel. He said construction workers will need to use the road while building the hotel.

Once the hotel is finished, the casino will be open 24/7, he said. It currently closes for a few hours early each morning.

He said table games likely won’t be open in the early hours of the morning, but slot machines will always be available “for those that want to stay longer.”

The project was originally slated to begin in 2008, but the tribe determined that a delay was needed due to the national financial downturn at that time, he said.

“It’s nice to be able to set a timeline before I end my career here,” Allen said, adding he still has plenty of time left with 7 Cedars.

He said the opening of the casino’s new restaurant, the House of Seven Brothers Restaurant, coincides with the effort to make the resort a destination.

“Seven Brothers … is really designed to meet the hotel guest experience,” he said. “The buffet had grown old and tired and wasn’t going to meet the needs of the hotel guests. The hotel will be close to a four-star experience, therefore we needed a dining experience.”

He said the restaurant offers a selections of local seafood for guests.

“It’s sea to table instead of farm to table,” he said.

When construction on the hotel starts early next year, the tribe will also begin building a connection to the Sequim wastewater treatment plant.

The Blyn Tribal Campus is expected to connect to the system in late fall of 2019.

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 jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.