To finance their long-awaited Vegas-style casino resort complex, the Cowlitz tribe, located in southwest Washington State, has assumed $485 million debt due in 2020. Moody’s Investors Service has given the project a “speculative” B3 Corporate Family Rating, one that Moody’s assigns to new development, debt-financed casino projects.

To manage construction and operations the Cowlitz Tribal Gaming Authority, wholly owned by the Cowlitz tribe, has entered into development and management agreements with Salishan-Mohegan LLC, a subsidiary of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, owners of the Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut. Successfully meeting construction timelines as well as anticipated profit margins will enable the project to raise its credit rating and lower their interest rates.

The Cowlitz Resort Casino will be the closest in proximity to the populated metropolitan area surrounding Portland Oregon, though there are several popular casinos within a distance of 150-miles. Plans include convention and entertainment facilities, a 250-room hotel and an RV park for 200 vehicles, retail shopping, restaurants, tribal facilities and a 130,000+ square-foot casino.

Cowlitz leadership recently released information that Donald Trump had offered to develop the resort on behalf of the tribe 15 years ago. Trump’s partnership proposal included additional fees for developing and managing the tribal casino under his name, terms which were found unattractive to tribal members.