Sault Tribe moves ahead with casino
LANSING – The city of Lansing and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians recently completed the agreement to purchase city-owned land adjacent to the Lansing Center where the casino will be built.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Sault Tribe Chairperson Aaron Payment, and Bob Liggett signed documents complet-ing the transfer of the land to the Tribe’s ownership. Liggett is the main investor in the project and owns a majority of Lansing Future Development, LLC, the Sault Tribe’s partner in the project.
The Tribe will now apply to the federal government to take the land into trust, clearing the way for the construction of the $245 million casino, which will be built in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, adjacent to the Lansing
Center. The 125,000-squarefoot casino is expected to create an estimated 1,500 permanent jobs at the property and more than 700 construction jobs.
“This is a wonderful day for the members of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians,” Payment said. “We continue to move aggressively on this project, and we will file our land trust application as soon as possible. We are grateful to have the city and people of Lansing as partners in this important endeavor. By exercising our sovereign government’s legal right to develop a casino, we will be creating a project that will generate significant economic benefits for Sault Tribe members in addition to creating thousands of good jobs.”
The Sault Tribe has operated Indian casinos in the state since 1984 and currently owns five Kewadin Casino properties in the Upper Peninsula. With more than 40,000 members, the Sault Tribe is the largest federally-recognized tribe east of the Mississippi and one of the largest job providers in Northern Michigan with 1,900 employees at its casinos, other businesses, and tribal government agencies.
The Tribe plans to use casino revenues to improve programs and services to members, including health care, education, housing, elder care, social services, and more. The City of Lansing will use its annual revenue payments from the facility to create the Lansing Promise, a program to fund four-year college scholarships for Lansing School District graduates.
Plans for the casino include up to 3,000 slot machines and 48 table games, and assorted bars and restaurants in an urban modern themed property. The project has been approved by the Lansing City Council, the Sault Tribe Board of Directors, and the Sault Tribe membership in a tribal referendum held earlier this year.