Casino breaks ground on fifth expansion

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Rendering courtesy Gun Lake Casino

Gun Lake Casino will break ground on a new resort and hotel. 

The groundbreaking ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 19, at the Gun Lake west parking lot, at 1123 129th Ave. in Wayland. 

The casino is adding the hotel and resort as part of its $300 million expansion project announced in April of last year. This addition is phase five of the project. The phase four expansion added 500 new slot machines and three restaurants — CBK, Shkode Chophouse and 131 Sportsbar and Lounge — to the casino. 

Gun Lake’s new, four-diamond hotel will stand at 15 stories with 252 rooms, including 30 luxury suites. The hotel also will have a full-service spa, pool and hot tub, new gift shop and business center with a meeting space, according to the casino.

The top two floors of the hotel will feature a two-story suite with a grand staircase, double-height window and elevator for guests. The suite also will include a pool table and full service bar as well as indoor and outdoor dining and lounge areas.

Sandbar Café will return in the new expansion as a three-meal restaurant with 137 seats. 

The resort portion will feature an aquadome. The 32,000-square-foot glass dome will house several pools for family, guests ages 21 and older and VIP guests. Other amenities include a swim-up bar, live palm trees and tropical foliage and a live entertainment space with 2,400 occupant capacity. The aquadome will be maintained at 85 degrees year-round to give guests a tropical resort experience.

“Phase five will transform the property into becoming a first-class destination resort. Without question, its design attributes will create a unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO Sal Semola.

“Over the past eleven years, the Gun Lake Tribe and our Gun Lake Casino team members have worked tirelessly to make this all a possibility. This is just the next step (toward) making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”

Construction for the hotel and resort will be led by Clark Construction, with architecture by HBG Design.

“The Aquadome is sure to become a must-see feature,” said Paul Bell, HBG Design principal. “A resort pool by day and performance complex by night, the glass-enclosed circular structure will generate an immense sense of energy inside and out, while offering a variety of complementary entertainment and gathering opportunities for resort guests and entertainment-seekers from the tristate area.

“Our team is dedicated to helping the Gun Lake Tribe fulfill its vision for the future of its popular entertainment facility. We have enjoyed working diligently together with the Tribe and Casino Operations to envision a unique expansion design that sets them on that path to success.”

The expansion is anticipated to create 350 additional jobs at Gun Lake Casino. 

“We are thrilled to begin taking the next steps in expanding not only Gun Lake Casino’s offerings but also our career opportunities to those in the surrounding communities,” said Gun Lake tribal chair Bob Peters. “We are committed to continuously investing in the future of the Tribe, the community and our current and future team members.”

Peters previously was named one of the Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Business Leaders. 

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