One of Michigan’s first casinos is getting a facelift.
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians has announced it will begin a multi-million dollar upgrade of Kewadin Casino Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie. Kewadin General Manager Dana Schlehuber the improvements will “elevate” customers of the nearly 40-year-old casino.
“We’re proud to be one of the first casinos in Michigan to open and to be celebrating our 38-year anniversary in 2023. We’ve seen many great changes over those years, and now it’s time for [a] new look and feel throughout the property that will elevate the guest experience,” Schlehuber said in a statement.
Casino won’t close during renovations
The tribe wants to ensure the casino can stay open during the renovations, so it will execute the project in phases. The first phase will start in either the summer or fall and finish in the winter of 2024.
The renovations will focus on modernizing the property by updating the exterior of the hotel and casino, and adding new windows.
Both the casino and hotel are in need of an update, as they sport a relatively aged and tired look. The casino’s exterior walls are a drab grey, and the hotel’s walls are a mix of taupe and clay colors.
Renderings of the new casino and hotel exterior reveal a clean, modern look dominated by whites and greys.
Kewadin Casinos CEO Allan Kerridge said updates will take place at the tribe’s four other Kewadin casino properties, which are located in St. Ignace, Manistique, Christmas, and Hessel.
“Our guest experience is of the utmost importance to us, and Kewadin Casinos is revitalizing it with this project as well as several other upgrades at all five Kewadin Casinos,” Kerridge said.
Renovations will help casino keep up with competitor
Last September, the Bay Mills Indian Community announced a $65 million expansion of its Bay Mills Resort & Casino. The expansion will include an overhaul of the property’s hotel and the addition of 134 rooms with balconies.
Why does the Bay Mills project matter to Kewadin? The proposed upgrades are taking place less than 30 minutes from Sault Ste. Marie, and four of the five Kewadin casinos are within an hour’s drive of the Bay Mills casino.
The tribe didn’t mention the Bay Mills project in its announcement about the Kewadin renovations. However, it’s likely that its competitor’s big-dollar investment in its property had a role in its decision to upgrade the five casinos.