Detroit Casino Concludes $300M Makeover

Nine years after originally opening its doors, the new MotorCity Casino Hotel has officially wrapped up its three-year expansion with the completion of its 1,886-seat Sound Board Theater live performance venue. The comprehensive $300 million upgrade by Marian Ilitch, who became the sole owner when she bought out her partners in separate deals totaling over $630 million in 2005, also involved the development of additional gaming space, as well as a new hotel and dining options. MotorCity Casino (pictured) holds the distinction of being Detroit’s only locally owned and operated casino, and is also recognized for its incorporation of the historic Wonder Bread Bakery into its design. The Sound Board Theater represents just a fraction of the construction project, parts of which debuted late last year and earlier this year with MIG Detroit on board as the general contractor. The expansion added a 17-story hotel with 400 rooms; approximately 45,000 square feet of gaming space, leaving the property with a 100,000-square-foot casino floor; an 8,000-square-foot spa and fitness center; a total of 67,000 square feet of meeting space; numerous new lounges and dining facilities, including the city’s only AAA Four Diamond restaurant; and a parking facility. MotorCity Casino is one of the maximum three casinos allowed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board to operate in the city. The other two, MGM Grand Resort Casino and Greektown Casino, were awarded gaming licenses in 1999 and 2000, respectively, and opened temporary facilities with plans for major additions. An $800 million project, MGM Grand Detroit reached completion in October 2007. Greektown Casino revealed details of its $500 million expansion endeavor in 2005. The project has since encountered a few complications–Greektown, owned by the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, filed for bankruptcy protection in May of this year and later agreed to sell a portion of its ownership of the project for $100 million. However, the show goes on. Greektown completed the 25,000-square-foot expansion of its casino in August and is on track to wrap up construction of a 30-story hotel tower early next year.