Mohegan Sun Rises Highest

photos & story
by Jessica Warzeniak

On top of the Winter Garage with the sun shining, some pyrotechnics, an awesome motorcycle, and Dan Aykryod, Mohegan Sun celebrated another Project Horizon groundbreaking on May 14. The groundbreaking ceremony started with Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, Chairman, Mohegan Tribe, blessing the area and performing the smudge ceremony.

Set to open in the fall of 2008, the 64,000 square-foot Casino of the Wind is one of the major components of Mohegan Sun’s multi-million dollar Project Horizon expansion. The cornerstone of the expansion will be a new 39-story hotel, featuring a unique House of Blues experience including 261 House of Blues-themed hotel rooms, and an exclusive, members-only House of Blues Foundation Room to be located on the upper floors of the new hotel. Other highlights of the new House of Blues experience at Mohegan Sun will include a House of Blues Music Hall, restaurant and retail outlet.

Slipping into the Blues Brothers signature black hat and sunglasses, “We’re thrilled to unveil the next phase of our evolution,” said Bruce. “The future of the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun shines bright, as we continue to develop as an overall entertainment destination. Our Project Horizon will further expand upon our cultural heritage and traditions to offer our customers a spectacular, one-of-a-kind experience in the Northeast.”

“It is a beautiful day in Mohegan. An exciting day,” said Bruce. “I am looking forward to the next phase of the world’s greatest casino. Not just because it is ours, but because it is. 30,000 people tell me that everyday.”

Project Horizon is also expected to inject 1,400 construction jobs and 1,500 permanent jobs into the economy of Southeastern CT. The total number of slot machines at Mohegan Sun is projected to increase to approximately 7,600 units complemented by 385 table games.

“This is a very exciting time in the history of Mohegan Sun,” said Mitchell Etess, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mohegan Sun. “We’re thrilled to welcome House of Blues here at Mohegan Sun, an arrangement that is designed to bring together two leading entertainment destinations at one location.”
“We have worked tirelessly with the architects and designers to organically and seamlessly expand the existing facility while honoring the past culture and future generations of the Mohegan Tribe,” added Mitchell. “Over the years, we have created the premier entertainment destination in North America and continue to build unparalleled guest loyalty.”

The design of Project Horizon is a collaborative effort by several of the world’s most renowned firms, including Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo, architects of Mohegan Sun’s dramatic exterior, and the Rockwell Group, in charge of creating the Mohegan-inspired design for the new gaming space, hotel lobby, retail and dining areas.

“The Source,” a concept with special meaning to the Mohegan Tribe, served as the inspiration for the designs of Project Horizon. Water, the ultimate source of life, will act as a key design feature. In the new hotel lobby, a reflecting pool will evoke the spirits of the sea, earth and sky, while thirteen springs will represent the new generations that will prosper from the Tribe’s vision. “‘The Source’ is about water, light, and the basket – the vessel for future generations.” said David Mexico, principal, Rockwell Group. “The new lobby will have liquid points of light, surrounded by shards of crystal, all encompassed in a basket.”

The new 1,500 capacity House of Blues Music Hall will feature live music from a wide variety of musical genres, while the 300-seat casual dining restaurant will offer unique regional and international cuisine and traditional southern-inspired. “I have personally been promoting concerts in CT for over 35 years bringing the biggest artists in the world to this great state,” said Jim Koplik, President, Live Nation CT. “To be able to finally promote club shows at the most respected club venue brand in the world will be hugely beneficial for both the artist community and the music fans who love coming to see live entertainment at Mohegan Sun.”

Actor and comedian, Dan Aykroyd, founder, House of Blues, arrived on his Harley Davidson. “We are here to marry the spirits of two great entities,” said Dan. “God knows in this day and age we need music, fun, and leisure more than ever.” Dan began his association with the Mohegan Sun when his wife Donna threw him a surprise fiftieth birthday party. “They were wonderful to me. We started talking and I decided to bring my brand here. It’s thrilling and an honor to work with them.”