Potawatomi planning second hotel tower in Menomonee Valley

Casino hotel addition will bring room count to more than 500

Potawatomi is planning to build the hotel expansion east of the current tower.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:13 pm

The Forest County Potawatomi Community is planning to break ground this year on a second hotel tower at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in the Menomonee Valley in Milwaukee, according to several sources familiar with the project.

Potawatomi is planning to build the hotel expansion east of the current tower.
The Forest County Potawatomi Community is planning a second hotel tower, to the east of the current hotel tower at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee.

The 16-story, 150- to 200-room tower will feature more suites than the current 19-story, 381-room hotel, which opened in front of the casino at 1721 W. Canal St. in August 2014, according to sources.

The second hotel tower would also provide additional meeting space. The current hotel has seven meeting rooms with a total of 12,000 square feet of space.

The new tower will be connected to the existing tower, on the hotel’s east side, facing the 16th Street viaduct. Once complete, the new hotel will form an “L” shape, according to sources. The new hotel tower will be built on a building pedestal attached to the east of the existing hotel tower.

Ryan Amundson, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino spokesman, said at this time, no definitive decisions have been made regarding future development of the casino property.

“Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has a long history of growth in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley. With that in mind, leadership within the tribe and at the business is constantly examining ways to improve the property to benefit our millions of guests, thousands of team members and our owners – the Forest County Potawatomi,” Amundson said. “Any large expansion of the property must go through a rigorous legislative process and significant planning.”

When the original hotel was built, there were always plans for a second tower so the support system is already in place, according to sources.

Potawatomi’s hotel is already the third largest in the area in and near downtown Milwaukee, after the 729-room Hilton Milwaukee City Center and the 481-room Hyatt Regency. By adding a second tower, even with only 150 more rooms, Potawatomi would have 531 hotel rooms.

The current hotel includes 16 suites and the “presidential” suite on the 19th floor. Between 30 and 70 suites will be in the new hotel tower, according to a source familiar with plans.

The detailed planned development approved for the project in 2012 by the common council would have to be amended before construction could move forward. So far, no plans have been submitted to the city, said Jeff Fleming, spokesman for the Department of City Development.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community is also exploring options for two former Cargill Inc. properties adjacent to the casino, totaling about 9.2 acres, that it purchased in 2015. The tribe acquired a 6.5-acre former beef slaughterhouse facility at 1901 W. Canal St. just west of the casino, and a 2.7-acre former research and development facility east of the casino and the 16th Street viaduct.

The tribe is considering building a non-gaming entertainment venue at the larger former Cargill site, but will move forward on the hotel development first, according to a source.

Unlike the casino, which lies within tribal land, the hotel and Cargill sites are under the city’s jurisdiction.

Potawatomi Bingo opened as a pole barn with seating for 2,500 in March 1991. Today, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino is one of the state’s most visited entertainment destinations with more than 6 million visitors a year and 2,700 employees.

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