First Segment of $925M Mohegan Sun Casino Expansion Wraps Up

The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, owner of Uncasville, Conn.’s Mohegan Sun, a 3 million-square-foot casino entertainment destination and one of only two authorized gaming operations in New England, has just completed the first phase of its $925 million Project Horizon expansion endeavor. The new addition to the 240-acre property is the 64,000-square-foot Casino of the Wind, which cost $116 million to complete. Situated along Southeastern Connecticut’s Thames River on the Mohegan Tribe of Indians of Connecticut’s 405-acre reservation, Mohegan Sun first opened its doors in 1996 and underwent two major expansions prior to Project Horizon. Ground broke on Project Horizon’s Casino of the Wind, designed by architectural firm The Rockwell Group, in June 2007. In addition to its vast gaming space, Casino of the Wind features Jimmy Buffett’s 16,000-square-foot Margaritaville restaurant and a 2,600-square-foot deli. And, there’s more on the development roster for Mohegan Sun’s Project Horizon. The $695 million Earth Expansion phase will include the 39-story Earth Tower with 919 hotel rooms, 261 of which will center on a House of Blues theme, as well as a 36,000-square-foot music hall, a 22,000-square-foot spa and a 3,000-square-foot special events room. Additionally, the Earth Expansion will bring 44,000 square feet of new retail space to the property. Construction kicked off in May and is on target to conclude in fall 2010. Work has also commenced on the $97 million Property Infrastructure component of Project Horizon, which calls for infrastructural improvements and the development a 1,500-space parking facility. Currently, Mohegan Sun encompasses 300,000 square feet of gaming space, a 1,200-room luxury hotel tower, the 130,000-square-foot Shops at Mohegan Sun retail segment and over 100,000 square feet of meeting space. Additionally, the complex features the 10,000-seat Mohegan Sun Arena, the 350-seat Cabaret Theatre and the 300-seat Wolf Den. “Over the past 12 years, Mohegan Sun has confirmed its standing as the Northeast’s premier entertainment destination,” Mitchell Etess, president & CEO of Mohegan Sun, told CPN. “As we grow with our latest expansion, we continue to offer our visitors an unparalleled guest experience.” Once all facets of Project Horizon have reached completion, a total of 1.4 million square feet of new offerings will have been added to Mohegan Sun. Project Horizon’s price tag has increased a bit since it was first conceived, but the change has not presented any major financial obstacles. In February of this year, the Authority gained approval from its lender banks to amend particular terms of its $1 billion bank credit facility to increase the permissible amount of capital expenditures for Project Horizon from $800 million to $950 million, and from $200 million to $215 million for Project Sunrise at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Plains Township, Pa.