BLYN — The ground has been broken for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s long-awaited resort and casino expansion at 7 Cedars Casino.
After a weather-induced delay pushed the kickoff by several weeks, tribal dignitaries kicked off the first phase of a $40 million project on the tribe’s main Blyn campus Thursday by digging gold shovels into dirt outside the casino.
Jerry Allen, 7 Cedars Casino/Resort CEO, said the Feb. 4 date of the originally scheduled groundbreaking would have been the 24th anniversary of opening the Blyn casino.
“But the weatherman had other plans,” he joked with the crowd of 150-plus people at Club Seven inside the casino.
Allen said construction began last week for the hotel/casino expansion and remains on schedule for a spring 2020 opening.
The first of a three-phase project includes 100 rooms of an overall expansion that enlarges to the casino’s west side.
It’s a five-story resort with each floor featuring a different element — water, land, trees and sky — with mini, executive and business suites to go along with standard rooms.
“The eventual product you see here will reflect who we are, reflect the beauty and pristine of the Olympic Peninsula,” said Ron Allen, Jamestown Tribal Council chairman and CEO.
The bottom floor will house a large lobby, coffee bar and administrative offices, as well as conference, meeting and banquet spaces.
Greg Belding, principal of Rice Fergus Miller Architecture of Bremerton — whose team designed the resort — said the firm started working with the tribe in 2005 on an extension of a conference room to the bingo hall.
“I think this project will be a catalyst for future growth here at the 7 Cedars Campus,” Belding said.
“More than that, it’s going to be the first four-diamond property in the region.”
Ron Allen said in previous interviews that the idea of the overall design is to combine new technology with the tribe’s cultural themes.
“We want it to reflect Jamestown’s cultural motif,” he said.
Second and third phases, Allen noted, will add 200 more rooms and large conference spaces, a parking garage and an events center.
“Jamestown has looked at this project and everything we do as a partnership,” Ron Allen said at the ceremony.
”“The Olympic Peninsula is a part of our family,” he added.
“Everything we do is intended to benefit not just our people but the community that surrounds us. We see this as an opportunity to continue to extend those efforts that make a difference for our community.”
Belding and Ron Allen said the resort will help establish Blyn as a “gateway to the Olympic Peninsula.”
The project was originally slated to begin in 2008, but tribe officials delayed it because of the national financial downturn at that time, Jerry Allen said in a previous interview.
Tribal officials anticipate the expansion increasing staff from 450 to 550.
Swinerton, a San Francisco, Calif.-based construction company with offices in Bellevue, is the main contractor for the overall project, but Ron Allen said he hopes to use as many local sub-contractors and services as possible.
He said the tribe has cleared about 5 acres worth of forested land for additional parking, with the trees being repurposed as “woody debris” in peninsula rovers for salmon habitat.
The tribe also will begin building a connection to the City of Sequim’s wastewater treatment plant, which is expected to connect to the system in late fall of 2019.
For more information on the 7 Cedars Casino and Resort, 270756 U.S. Highway 101, Sequim, visit www.7cedarsresort.com or call 360-683-7777.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.