Turning Stone Casino and Resort's new expansion is a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll.
The Oneida Nation announced the details of the expansion called "Exit 33" during a groundbreaking held Thursday morning in Verona.
The Oneida Nation's $25 million dollar expansion focuses on entertainment venues. There will be three clubs inside a complex that will be known as "Exit 33" - named after the resort's Thruway exit. Oneida Nation CEO Ray Halbritter says Turning Stone currently brings in 4.5 million guests each year and he wants to attract more visitors from farther away.
"We live in a great demographic. They're just a little further away than we would like them to be - and that's going to appeal to the whole market area," said Halbritter.
Each of the three clubs in the 75,000 square foot expansion will have its own identity. The country western club housed in a large red barn stands out in architect Andrew Ramsgard's drawings.
"This is really country western. it's a barn, there's a riding bull, there's a stage," said Ramsgard.
There will also be a rock and roll venue themed like a 1960's underground club - and a piano bar.
"The piano bar...think Rat Pack with a classic twist on it," said Ramsgard.
The Oneida Indian Nation does not pay property taxes but Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says the area will still benefit from the expansion. Oneida County does receive sales tax from food and beverages sold at Turning Stone. The expansion will also bring 200 construction jobs and 100 permanent jobs when it is completed next summer. Picente said the boost in tourism is also good news for the area.
"For people to come and visit here and spend time in Oneida County. It puts us on the map worldwide - not just on the east coast," said Picente.
Oneida Nation officials say the multi-million dollar project at the Turning Stone Resort Casino will be the first major construction since the addition of the Lava nightclub in 2007. The casino signed an agreement to use union labor during the expansion.