Because of increased expenses and other matters, the date for completion of the Ojibwa Casino has now been pushed back to 2019.
Expenses to build a casino have greatly increased in Marquette County, Michigan. For example, it now costs $2 million for a septic system, according to news.casinodirectory.com. The amount of electricity fixed per person in the county has also increased. Costs initially started out at $375,000 but are now at $600,000. This is one of the delays that has caused the entire project to come to a halt. Don Wren, general manager of the Ojibwa Casino, says although there have been a few bumps in the road, he looks forward to everything coming together.
“There’s a whole process that goes into that, not only just paying for that, but also the design work,” Wren told TV6.
“It’s still going to be a really, really great place to come.”
The new statement is similar to one Wren made in 2017 about the construction portion of the project causing a few hiccups along the way.
“The Marquette property is moving right along. We’re running a little behind where we want to be, but with every construction project we do, or what everybody does, it’s always the site issues that hold you up,” Wren said at that time.
Renovations for both the Ojibwa and Baraga casinos were approved back in August 2016 as a referendum, with a total of $40 million given by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community or, KBIC. The money was split between the two casinos, with $6.5 million going to the Baraga casino and $33.5 million to the Ojibwa Casino. However, the KBIC’s idea was ultimately refused by the state, which then led to a reapportionment — most of the money would have gone to the Baraga. That was later approved.
A little later, in December 2016, two ceremonies took place to break ground on the expansion of casinos within Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to news.worldcasinodirectory.com. The renovations were the first to take place for the establishment in Marquette County. The renovations included three restaurants, an entertainment area comprised of 1,200 seats, a hotel with 80 rooms, a conference room with 400 seats, and a full comprehensive gaming area equipped with 500 slots. According to news.worldcasinodirectory.com, Wren told them The Mining Journal he wanted to make sure a convention area was brought into the community.
“Every leader that I’ve talked to within the community here spoke about the lack of convention space. So, now we’re giving them a place to come and stay. We’re giving them a place for conventions. We’re giving them a place for entertainment, and we’re giving them a spectacular casino,” Wren said. The two projects were then set to be completed in September 2018. But, now it will be 2019.
Successful Branding for Both Locations
While delays have caused a later opening date, the branding for both establishments seems to be going as scheduled. According to the marketing committee, the logo is currently in the works and, when that is completed, other areas of advertising will then be done.
“We are close to having our brand logo ready to roll and from there, we will have new advertising on TV, radio, and print,” Jim Orr, marketing manager, said. He adds that a billboard is also in the works for the casinos, along with more advertising strategies that will definitely help to get the word out about the new establishments.
“We will also have new outdoor billboards and direct mail, online and social media all without a marketing plan.”