Community , Business

Osage Event Center demolished for Tulsa casino expansion project

The Osage Casinos-Tulsa stands in the background as construction crews ready the grounds for the expansion on Jan. 3. CHALENE TOEHAY-TARTSAH/Osage News

TULSA, Okla. – Work crews demolished the Osage Event Center throughout December to make way for construction crews to build the expanded Osage Casino and Hotel property.

Casino officials say construction work will take about 18 months on the forthcoming Tulsa gaming property that will comprise a 126-room hotel, casino with room for 1,500 electronic games and other amenities including conference rooms, a sports bar and grill and a full-service brew pub. The larger casino and hotel will be built around the current Tulsa Osage Casino, which will remain open throughout the construction.

Osage Casino COO Joe Cooper told the Nation’s Gaming Commission on Dec. 7 work is also continuing on the project’s construction plan drawings and those should be completed by Jan. 30.

According to Cooper’s presentation to the Gaming Commission, the casino will be built with two levels with the lower-ground level containing back-of-house operations including shipping and receiving, executive offices, and three conference meeting rooms.

The main level will contain the casino gaming floor for electronic machines, table games, and one kitchen that will serve three eatery outlets, Cooper said, adding the casino has entered talks with Texas-based Nine-Band Brewing for developing the microbrew beer pub at the property.

Located in Allen, TX, Nine-Band Brewing features nine types of beer on its website, which are brewed at the company brewery and taproom in suburban north Dallas. Cooper said the talks will cover equipment purchasing so beer can be brewed on-site.

Plans for the Tulsa casino property brew pub come after Oklahoma voters approved State Question 792 on the November ballot, which eliminates restrictions on who can sell wine and strong beer. This measure (which passed with a 65.6 percent “yes” vote) will go into effect on Oct. 1, 2018.

Barring any delays, Cooper said the Tulsa project is slated for completion by July 2018.

Osage Casino CEO Byron Bighorse told the ON Gaming Enterprise Board that the construction project would be video recorded 24-7 to document the progress of the project and drone coverage would also be used. Bighorse said the footage would result in a time-lapse video of the process when construction is complete.

Bighorse said after the casino drawings are complete this month, construction bids would go out.

Cooper also noted the casino project was downsized due to last year’s Bluestem Ranch Purchase. Earlier plans called for building two hotel towers with 250 rooms, but those plans were cut in half for the single six-story tower now planned.

For a later second expansion phase, Cooper said the second hotel tower would be built along with a parking garage. A third phase would include more hotel rooms, and more casino and convention room space. A fourth phase would include developing retail and golf course space north of the casino, but Cooper cautioned that phase could be 30 years away.