|By S.E. Ruckman, Tulsa World,
Okla.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
August 1, 2007 - QUAPAW -- The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma broke ground Tuesday on a $200 million casino and hotel on 140 acres of land that skirts the Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas borders.
More than 100 tribal members, city officials and spectators attended the event for the Downstream Casino and Hotel. Completion is expected in summer 2008.
The casino will have more than 70,000 square feet of floor space, and more than 2,000 slot machines, 30 table games and 15 poker tables, officials said.
Located north of Interstate 44 in the far northeast corner of Ottawa County, the 12-story hotel will feature 219 guest rooms, seven luxury suites, a lounge, valet parking and a 200-seat restaurant with a buffet.
Quapaw tribal chairman John Berrey said the facility will employ more than 1,200 full-time employees and have an annual payroll of $35 million.
"It's almost hard for us to fathom that we are here today," Berrey said. "We intend to be transparent and to protect the integrity of our gaming."
The 3,200-member tribe will build the casino and hotel on allotment land acquired from tribal members. Additional access to the site has also been discussed with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Berrey said.
The facility will join 10 other casinos in the county, including the smaller Quapaw Casino just north of Miami.
Miami Mayor Brent Brassfield said he planned on the new Quapaw casino having a significant impact on Miami's economy, as well that of nearby Joplin, Mo.
"We're not talking about some small entity here; this casino will have an economic impact in a 100-mile radius," he said.
Meanwhile, the tribe will partner with nearby Loma Linda Country Club to offer 36 holes of golf, officials said. Bobby Landis, owner and chief executive officer of Loma Linda, said their agreement is a "win-win" situation.
"We're looking forward to make some updates and improvements to the courses, and we anticipate new business from out-of-state visitors," he said.
Free hot-air balloon rides were given to the height of the planned 12-story hotel following the groundbreaking.
Manhattan Construction is the builder and JCJ Architects Inc. of New York is the site's designer.
"This is the same steel crew . . . that worked on the new 18,000-seat BOK Center in Tulsa and erected a complicated project on schedule," said John Snyder, president of Manhattan Construction Co. of Tulsa.
S.E. Ruckman 581-8462 email@example.com
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