After announcing detailed plans for its proposed $400 million Four Winds South Bend casino on December 7, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians celebrated a key point in the construction of its long-awaited casino and tribal village.

This week, the band held a topping out ceremony which saw the final steel beam was placed on what will be upon completion a 175,000 square foot venue and what is the first tribal casino in the state of Indiana.

The milestone comes on the heels of the tribe’s land-into-trust application being approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) on November 18 last year.

Inside Indiana Business reports that Pokagon Band officials say they have now passed the halfway marker of construction on the Class II casino and tribal village going up on a 166-acre site in South Bend. The 55,000 square foot casino will feature 1,800 video and slot machines, a player’s lounge, five restaurants, three bars, a retail store, a coffee shop and an enclosed parking structure. The development will also include a hotel with 500 rooms, nearly four dozen tribal housing units, and a tribal services hub.

Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Chairman, John Warren, said, “With each stage of our construction timeline, there’s an element of symbolism,” Warren added, “Setting this final steel beam in place signifies the completion of a major phase of construction. We’re more than halfway through the process and are on pace to be ready to open in early 2018. It’s truly something to celebrate,” as reported by the news agency.

While the Pokagon Band would have liked to offer table and card games such as the ones it offers at its New Buffalo casino, there will be none, as the tribe was unsuccessful in its attempts to negotiate a gaming compact with the former Indiana Governor Mike Pence. However, a report late December indicated the Pokagon Band planned to work with then Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb, Pence’s lieutenant governor at the time, to see if they could negotiate a compact in 2018, which is when the casino is slated to open.

When fully operational, the new facility will employ about 1,200 people. A series of job fairs will be held by the Pokagon Band to fill positions. WNDU reports that they will be held on July 22, August 5, September 9 and October 3. The July and September job fairs will be held from 10am to 3pm at Jackson Middle School in South Bend, the August job fair will take place at Four Winds Field from 11am to 4pm, and on October 3 at the Century Center from 2pm to 7pm.

The South Bend casino will be bigger than the Four Winds casinos in Dowagiac and Hartford but not as big as the New Buffalo casino, which boasts a 140,000 square foot casino floor.

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