The Master Plan for the property is currently the largest hospitality expansion project underway in the Southeast and one of the largest in the U.S., offering the greatest number of hotel accommodations in the state.
Upon completion in 2012, the 37-acre property will have added a third tower incorporating luxury accommodations and high-end suites, a 3,000-seat events center, entertainment and VIP lounges, 16,000-square-foot spa, new state-of-the-art digital poker room, Asian gaming room, restaurant and retail outlets, and hotel and casino parking garages. Harrah's Cherokee is also renovating current casino facilities and doubling the size of its casino floor to 150,000 square feet while increasing video and table game capacity. The facilities will incorporate the Eastern Band of Cherokee's extensive and important collection of Native American art. Significant investment is being made in technology and group services, from business and conference support to elaborate catering services.
Today's groundbreaking ceremonies included Harrah's management and executives, Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal leaders, government officials and local VIPs, construction and design representatives and members of the media. The project has significant economic impact for the region, significantly increasing hospitality-related and construction jobs available in the region.
Speaking at the event were Principal Chief Michell Hicks, Eastern Band of Cherokees; Norma Moss, Chair of Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise; Lynn Minges, Assistant Secretary/Tourism, Marketing and Global Branding, North Carolina; Darold Londo, Senior Vice President/General Manager, Harrah's Cherokee; John Payne, Central Division President, Harrah's Entertainment; Ken Leach, Executive Vice President, Turner Construction.
Principal Chief Hicks said that the Tribe -- along with Harrah's Entertainment -- is proud of the massive expansion effort that will grow and transform the property into "a world-class entertainment and tourism destination." Chief Hicks noted: "Despite the economy, the expansion will position the property in perfect position -- ahead of the competition -- when the economy rebounds and we can welcome new customers anxious for world-class entertainment, accommodations and service."
Visitors to Harrah's Cherokee enjoy nearby recreational, athletic and cultural attractions within the Great Smoky Mountains, and visits to Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Oconaluftee Indian Village, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual Gallery and "Unto These Hills" Mountainside Theater. Opening in September 2009 is nearby Sequoia National Golf Club designed by world-renowned golf architect Robert Trent Jones II.
Harrah's Cherokee Casino & Hotel is an enterprise of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation, located 50 miles west of Asheville at the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Harrah's Cherokee Casino is open 24 hours a day to guests 21 years of age or older.
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