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Cotuit

Foxwoods plans $700 million expansion

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Cotuit    0

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Foxwoods plans $700 million expansion

The Associated Press | February 1, 2005

MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- Foxwoods Resort Casino, one of the world's largest gambling centers,will undergo a $700 million expansion under a plan approved by the Mashantucket Pequot tribe.

In a referendum, tribal members yesterday approved plans for an 825-room hotel tower, 5,000-seat theater, a massive convention space and ballroom and more gaming units, shops, nightclubs and restaurants. About 2,300 people will be hired to staff the expansion, the tribe said.

The three-year construction project is expected to begin this summer.

The expansion would add more than 2 million square feet to the resort and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2008.

The tribe is considering two design themes and is expected to make a final decision in March. The Mashantuckets commissioned studies and analyzed gaming industry trends and regional demographics before approving the new project.

The tribe is hoping to lure in young crowds with nightclubs that are geared toward the region's growing Hispanic and Asian populations. The project also aims to draw more midweek and year-round business and provide additional hotel rooms for weekends.

The Mashantuckets also hope to close a competitive gap between their casino and the nearby Mohegan Sun Casino, operated by the Mohegan Tribe, with a planned performing arts center. The existing 1,400-seat Fox Theatre makes it difficult for Foxwoods to compete with the 10,000-seat arena at Mohegan Sun.

"I'm not going to shy away from the fact that it's a marketing and strategic advantage that Mohegan Sun has," said William Sherlock, president and chief executive officer of Foxwoods.

Foxwoods grosses more than $1 billion annually, and the Mashantuckets plan to finance their new development privately.

Foxwoods, which was the first of the two Indian casinos in the state, renovated its old Rainmaker casino last year, as well as shops, hotel rooms and restaurants. It is also completing an on-site golf course, due to open later this year.

From The Providence Journal

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It never ends. Those two are going to suck any chance of life out of the whole region. Foxwoods and Mohegan ARE the argument against casinos. I worked as a security guard for Foxwoods and it's a spectacle to actually see a building eat money (and create copious amounts of trash in the process). The acts that perform at these venues would otherwise be performing in Hartford, Worcester or Providence and if nobody believes me then I offer the example of "The Tent" in Warwick. It was an already struggling performance center that wilted in the long shadow that had been cast. My problem with casinos isn't so much against the casinos but against the McResort that becomes of it. Once convention space, and performance venues of large scale come into the picture then you know the money is coming out of local cities' pockets. And I know most of us think it's some bull propaganda when we hear it but prostitution DOES happen there. After three months of late-night people watching it becomes hard to ignore.

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Cotuit    0

I know, all those stats about theatre seats and convention seats makes me cry. Those seats could be in Providence, or Warwick, or New London. It's such a waste.

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LeTaureau    0

This is horrible news. Not just for Connecticut, but for all of New England. I live far away from Disneyland and Vegas for a reason. As we can see the influences of these places are slowly creeping into merry 'ole New England. Such a shame. Cities in southern NE already hold a tenuous grip on the regions surrounding them. Competition from this mega money making machine will only loosen that grip further.

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tombarnes    0

A friend of mine worked at Foxwoods and suggested that it was managed terribly. Only the oceans of money which flow through the place keep it open. I did visit, but only once. I found the openness and natural light inside a refreshing change from most casinos, but the overall feeling there was not exactly pleasant. In the end, it seemed a depressing place. As for sucking the life out of their surroundings, I would have to agree that few performance venues or restaurants are able to compete on an even playing field with the casinos, so most simply stop trying.

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