Setting the stage at Ilani Casino Resort
The Cowlitz Tribe started work on its event center this month, setting the stage for yet another attraction in northern Clark County.The center is expected to open in the spring. Its exterior was built with the rest of the Ilani Casino Resort, which opened in April. Now, crews are tasked with turning the cavernous space into a high-end hall, capable of seating 2,500 for concerts and conventions.“We are not ‘breaking ground’ in a traditional sense of excavating foundations. In an effort to minimize disruption to the site, we built the structural steel frame of the event center when we built the casino,” said Paul Tresnan of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which jointly oversees the casino with the Cowlitz Tribe.Though it was originally slated to open in the fall, Tresnan said they waited to start working on the venue to “ensure our planning, programming and budget is aligned” with the rest of casino operations.Swinerton Builders, the San Francisco-based construction firm that built Ilani, is leading the project. It is designed by Las Vegas- and Newport Beach, Calif.-based Friedmutter Group.The venue is attached to the casino’s northeast corner.When the venue is complete, it will wrap up phase one of the original plans for the Ilani Casino Resort. After nearly two decades in development, it opened three months ago with 2,500 slot machines and 75 card tables, plus numerous restaurants and shops.In a couple of years, casino officials are expected to start phase two: a hotel.