Poarch Band of Creek Indians Plans $190m hotel for Sands Casino

Construction plans

30-second summary

  • Alabama tribe purchasing the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem finally announces plans for the project
  • The tribe plans to invest $90m (€79m) into a hotel expansion with 300 guest rooms
  • Possible indoor water park
  • First time public remarks have been made since plans were first announced in March 2018

The Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a tribe based in Alabama, has plans to purchase the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. The Sands Casino is located in Pennsylvania. The acquisition was first announced last year.

The tribe has finally released information on what is to come. While the $1.3bn (€1.1bn) purchase is not complete, the tribe has immediate plans to invest $190m (€166m) in a hotel project and development.

What’s to come

As of right now, the tribe is finalizing the purchase of the Sands property. The sale is undergoing the vetting process by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board.

The tribe has been trying to diversify its assets since 2014 and sees the Sands Casino as a great way to continue this process.

Wind Creek Hospitality, an affiliate of the tribe, just completed several meetings with local media to discuss the upcoming plans. The tribe will begin working on a hotel expansion as well as further development of the No. 2 Machine Shop. The hotel will include 300 guest rooms. An indoor water park may also be created.

CEO and president of Wind Creek, Jay Dorris, said: “When we start looking around the world for quality properties that are in good shape, that are established, that are very successful, there’s not that many of them. And this property certainly checks all those boxes. We looked into it.

“The Lehigh Valley is growing, it’s doing quite well. The property has done quite well and, like I said, we checked all the boxes that were important to us.”

Plans for investment

After the sale is finalized, Wind Creek will spend $90m (€79m) to create a hotel tower with 300 guest rooms. The property will include event space. The goal is to open these venues in 24 months after construction begins.

According to Dorris, the property does not need much work. There will be a rebranding and name change. Wind Creek feels the property and region offers room for expansion. So, from the very beginning, the goal is to add another hotel to capture more of the market.

The current hotel enjoys around 95% occupancy. Investing money in a new hotel and convention space will attract larger groups because of the additional facilities. The hotel expansion will create new jobs as well, providing at least 400 employees with a position.

The Sands Casino was in the process of an expansion of the gaming floor. However, the tribe currently has no plans to continue this project.

Sands already completed quality changes to the floor. This includes housing 254 table games and around 3,000 slots. This amount meets the player demand.

Wind Creek has set aside an additional $100m (€87.7m) to start work on the No. 2 Machine shop in the future. Plans are to use the property to create a facility that does not focus on gaming. Ideas on the table are an indoor water park, which is currently being studied.