Contractors for the new $510 million Cowlitz Casino Resort in Washington State have begun preliminary site work in preparation for a planned January 2016 official groundbreaking ceremony. The Vegas-style resort will be built on the tribe’s recently approved and still undeveloped 152-acre Cowlitz reservation land, situated along the I-5 corridor near the town of La Center, 20-miles north of Portland, Oregon.

Reservation status for the Cowlitz tribe was recently approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in 2014. Opponents have challenged the ruling, and a final determination by the Circuit Court of Appeals is due sometime in October. However, Cowlitz leadership is confident that the court’s ruling will be consistent with lower court findings.

Cowlitz tribal leadership has made significant economic development commitments to the surrounding community including an agreement confirming all construction would be built with local union workers. The project expects to generate more than 1,000 jobs during the build-out, and the resort plans to provide 1,500 hourly to salaried managerial jobs that include full benefits for most.

The proposed resort complex is currently planned with a 134,000 square foot casino, 260,000 square feet for shopping, 147,500 square feet for entertainment and convention space, an eight-story, 250-room hotel, and parking for 7,250 vehicles and 200 RV’s.

The construction schedule is planned for 18-months, with the grand opening estimated for 2017.