After wrapping up the first phase of its $160 million renovation in late August last year, Osage Casino Hotel-Tulsa announced Tuesday the start of a second phase that will see the addition of a six-story $28 million tower at the Oklahoma complex.
The new hotel tower is expected to be completed by fall 2020.
Owned and operated by the federally recognized Osage Nation, the casino that is located at 951 W. 36th St. North in Tulsa celebrated the grand opening of its $ 160 million expansion on August 29, 2018, after breaking ground in November 2016.
According to Public Radio Tulsa…
Chief Executive Officer for Osage Casinos, Bryon Bighorse, said that every other weekend the newly-renovated complex sells out but that there aren’t enough hotel rooms to satisfy demand.
“We have started construction on our second hotel tower. This means we are investing another $28 million into the property. This hotel tower will be identical to the tower constructed last year, except it will contain 145 hotel rooms,” said Bighorse.
The Tuesday announcement follows the completion last year of phase one of the casino’s major renovation, which Chief Bighorse officially proposed to the Osage Nation Congress’ Commerce and Economic Development Committee back in 2015.
The $160 million renovation of what is the largest Osage Casinos footprint – encompassing 247,000 square feet – included nearly 66,000 square feet of casino space, a 141-room hotel, swimming pool, banquet rooms, sports bar, cafe, pool and Nine Band Brewing Co., a full-service brewery and the Skyline Event Center.
Return on investment:
Tulsa Regional Chamber President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Neal said the new tower will be a draw for visitors, who spend nearly $9 billion a year in Oklahoma.
“Investing in tourism infrastructure is a benefit to us all. It’s a benefit to local communities. It’s a benefit to the tribe,” Neal said, as reported by Public Radio Tulsa.
The investments also put the Osage on more level playing ground with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Cherokee Nation, both of which have a significant presence in the area. The latter has the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa in Catoosa and the former owns and operates River Spirit Casino Resort at Riverside Pkwy in Tulsa.
According to a report from Tulsa World…
Osage Nation Principal, Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear, spent much of his stage-time on Tuesday discussing the recent announcement by Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt regarding the re-negotiation of the state’s 15-year-old gaming compacts with its nearly 40 federally recognized Indian tribes.
The third-largest employer in the state, Oklahoma is also the third-larget gaming market in the U.S., only California and Nevada are bigger. The state’s gaming market reportedly generates approximately $4.5 billion annually for the tribes, which currently enjoy exclusivity to the industry, however, that expires on January 1.
Regarding being on the right side of the agreements between the state and the tribes, Standing Bear said that their confidence is high…”because if we weren’t, we wouldn’t be putting tens of millions of dollars into this local economy, as we are doing now.”
“It’s really important to remember that we can’t over-regulate and we can’t over-tax or put fees on these activities and expect them to be profitable. Because 100% of the profits of this enterprise goes to our people, for our culture, our education, our health. So when we tax on these enterprises, we’re taxing our people.”
Completion of event center:
In early February this year, the Osage Nation completed construction of the 45,000 square foot Skyline Event Center at the Tulsa complex. The 2,000-seat venue was the last of the project expansion that began on November 17, 2016.
In addition to its flagship casino in Tulsa, which opened the summer of 2005, the business arm also owns and operates six other casinos in Oklahoma, including Osage Casino Bartlesville, Osage Casino Hominy, Osage Casino Pawhuska, Osage Casino Ponca City, Osage Casino Sand Springs and Osage Casino Skiatook.