Financing found to complete Gun Lake Casino
WAYLAND — The Gun Lake Tribe of Pottawatomi Indians has finalized a $165 million loan to complete the Gun Lake Casino under construction near the Bradley exit on U.S. 131 in Allegan County.
The loan, arranged by Goldman Sachs, has an interest rate of 12 percent, for a term of five years. The tribe has the option to pay off the loan any time after the third year.
“Securing this loan is another significant achievement in our tribal government’s effort to become economically self-sufficient. This development ensures badly needed jobs and services for our tribal citizens, and our neighbors in the local community,” said D.K. Sprague, Tribal Chairman.
Sprague said the loan will enable the tribe to “quickly build a state-of-the-art facility that will be competitive with any casino in western Michigan.” It is anticipated the facility will open in early 2011.
Initial construction began last fall on the casino, which is expected to require about 750 construction workers. The casino will generate about 600 permanent fulltime jobs when it opens early next year. The structure is now enclosed and an on-site waste water treatment plant is under construction. Roadwork, which includes widening of 129th Avenue and the exit lanes off U.S. 131, is nearly complete.
The tribe said last year the recession had resulted in its decision to scale back plans to build a casino about half the size of that originally planned. The casino begun last year was to have 1,200 slot machines but last week’s announcement indicated that it will now have 1,400. The building is also designed for possible expansion in the future.
The announcement notes that despite “many delays caused by well-funded opponents,” and a sharp downturn in the economy, “the tribe has consistently achieved progress on opening the casino in every arena whether legal, political or economic.”
“Today we can say, once and for all, the Gun Lake Casino is coming to West Michigan,” said Sprague.