Puyallup Tribe to break ground on new casino

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians will break ground on their new $200 million casino and resort this Saturday, Sept. 20.

The public is invited to attend the historic event, which will include a blessing of the new project by tribal elders, as well as speeches by Tacoma Mayor Bill Baarsma (who oddsmakers predict will say, “Are we on a roll in Tacoma, or what?”) and Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, among others, and live big band music.

Tribal spokesman John Weymer described in a press release the significance of the groundbreaking: “This historic event signifies an economic milestone for our region, as groundbreaking occurs on one of the largest construction projects in Pierce County. Hundreds of new jobs will benefit working families in Western Washington. Additionally, the casino will act as a gateway to Tacoma attracting an influx of tourism dollars and visitors from sister cities in the Pacific Rim and neighboring Pacific Northwest cities and states.”

The massive project will be the largest tribal casino on the West Coast.

Located on the south side of Interstate 5 off the Portland Avenue exit, the complex will be built on 22.5 acres and include a 12-story, 250-room hotel, a dozen restaurants, a 2,000-seat entertainment arena, a 600-seat theater that will feature Las Vegas-style entertainment and two parking rings with room for 3,000 automobiles.

The casino and resort will feature a Pacific Northwest and Native American theme. For example, one of the restaurants will feature stained glass kelp hanging down from the ceiling and tables shaped like tropical fish. Plans also call for a man-made lake and several waterfalls. The exterior of the casino will be made of glass and stone.

Between 2,500 and 3,000 people are projected to be employed by the casino.

The Puyallup Tribe of Indians groundbreaking celebration begins at 10 a.m. and runs through 2 p.m., and takes place at 2002 East 28th St., located directly behind the Emerald Queen Casino.