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Tribe receives loan for casino expansion, consolidation

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ST. REGIS MOHAWK RESERVATION - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe announced this week that it signed a $110 million dollar financing deal with Key Bank to pay for the expansion of the Akwesasne Mohawk Casino, build a new 150-room hotel and to consolidate it with the Mohawk Bingo Palace. The financing includes the cost of construction and relocation plus existing casino debt.

St. Regis Mohawk Tribe Chief Financial Officer Brian Fent said he would not discuss the repayment terms, only commenting that they are “very favorable to the tribe.” “The terms of this new credit facility are very favorable to the tribe and in times of economic downturn around the country it is a strong affirmation of the financial strength and the high quality of the tribe’s gaming operations,” Chief Mark Garrow said in a press release. According to Mr. Fent, the project will take place in four stages.The first began in October and will relocate the existing casino’s electronic gaming machines. Mr. Fent said that it should be mostly finished by November. The second phase will remodel existing casino structures to accommodate the bingo palace and should finish by January 2013.The third phase will remodel the existing casino and should finish around January 2013 as well. Phase four will conclude the construction of the hotel, which is slated to finish by March 2013. “The hotel will include a spa, swimming pool and conference/banquet space along with a high end center bar and entertainment area in the new gaming space,” the release said.

Mr. Fent said the hotel should create about 40 new jobs and will not be branded, but he said will be more high-level than some area hotels. Mr. Fent said the tribe will utilize a variety of contractors, but has enacted a Mohawk preference policy to encourage local contractors.

He added that the new expansion should not add many electronic gaming machines to the existing total, and the new casino gaming area is being designed to offer small musical groups and other small venues, while it is planned to use the new bingo area to host larger entertainment venues.

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