by Alexis Ann
August 29th was a perfect day for a ribbon cutting ceremony in honor of the opening of Mohegan Sun’s “third wonder of the world,” as stated by Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, Mohegan Tribe. Excitement filled the room outside of the entrance to the new 64,000 square-foot Casino of the Wind. Everyone in the crowd was eager to be the first to try their luck on the 680 brand-spanking new slot machines, 28 table games, and 42 poker tables in the additional 45,000 square feet of gaming space.
After a Tribal blessing ceremony by Chairman “Two Dogs” and a brief press conference, the 100-foot curtain masking the casino was parted, revealing the space designed in honor of the wind, a Mohegan Tribal tradition.
The space opened just 14 months after breaking ground in June 2007. Now we know it was a lucky omen when “Two Dogs” struck water while digging with a Trackhoe during the groundbreaking ceremony. “The Source,” a concept with special meaning to the Mohegan Tribe, served as the inspiration for the designs of Project Horizon, which includes the Casino of the Wind addition. Water, the ulitmate source of life, is a key design feature.
Designed by the Rockwell Group and WATG, Casino of the Wind draws inspiration from solar phenomena. Artistic representations of some of the Mohegan Tribe’s most timeless traditions are highlighted, including the spirits of the four winds: north, south, east and west.
“The central idea behind the design of Casino of the Wind is the re-interpretation of wind as it moves through space, transforming the surface it touches,” said Rob Holecek, CEO of WATG. “WATG has created an addition that blends gracefully and seamlessly, both aesthetically and functionally with the existing Casino of the Sky entrance, and yet is large enough to contain gaming, food & beverage and casino support functions.”
Some of the key design elements of the new space include a 35-foot high by 50-foot wide electronic and animated waterwall which acts as a projection screen, four 35-foot stacked solid glass clad columns and a custom chandelier over the new 30-seat bar.
“We have worked countless hours with the Mohegan Tribe to ensure their vision became a reality,” said David Mexico, Design Principal for the Rockwell Group.
Casino of the Wind is part of Mohegan Sun’s second major expansion, Project Horizon, a $925 million expansion which will be complete in 2010. The first major expansion, Project Sunburst brought Casino of the Sky, The Shops at Mohegan Sun and Mohegan Sun’s hotel to the property in 2001.
“Just months shy of the 13th anniversary of Mohegan Sun, we stand here today to celebrate yet another major milestone in our history – the opening of Casino of the Wind,” said Mitchell Etess, President and CEO for Mohegan Sun. “As we get ready to celebrate Labor Day this coming weekend, I would like to thank the core of our success, our employees, and congratulate those staff who have recently been hired as we grow with Casino of the Wind.”
Over 350 new permanent positions were created for Casino of the Wind, and over 850 construction jobs. In total, Mohegan Sun projects adding 1,500 jobs to Mohegan Sun upon completion of Project Horizon in 2010.
With classic games like Texas Hold’ Em, Seven-Card Stud and Omaha, the 42-table poker room is designed to please gamers of all levels. Whether a novice or a pro, the new room filled with over twenty-three LCD 50-inch television, will have something for everyone, including a semi-private high-level area featuring seven high-limit tables.
Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville
The island experience is coming to New England just in time for the autumn chill, as Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville prepares to open its doors in late September to early October.
“We’re very excited about bringing the Margaritaville experience to Mohegan Sun,” said Craig Wilson, General Manager of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. “We believe we’ve found a perfect complement to that island state of mind in New England’s largest and most exciting gaming destination.”
The new 16,000 square-foot two-level restaurant, designed like a marina, will feature two unique floors of dining space, a retail boutique, concert stage and multiple bars and will be the only venue at Mohegan Sun with a waterfront view of the Thames River. The second floor will have open-air seating that will allow guests unobstructed views for miles while dining and relaxing. Besides serving up some serious margaritas, frozen concoctions, boat drinks and cold beer, Margaritaville offers its signature Cheeseburger in Paradise alongside island-inspired favorites such as Jamaica Mistaica Wings, Calypso Mahi Mahi and Key Lime Pie.
After a two-year hiatus, Chief’s Deli makes its triumphant return to Mohegan Sun in the new Casino of the Wind. The walk-up restaurant will feature seating for over fifty to enjoy soups, salads, lox, grilled and cold sandwiches and desserts. The centerpiece of the menu is The Sturges, a Roasted Turkey Sandwich with American Cheese on White Bread, made just the way the
late Life Time Chief Ralph Sturges ordered it at Chief’s Deli’s previous location in Casino of the Earth.
With the addition of Casino of the Wind, Mohegan Sun is now home to over 6,700 slot machines and has over 375 table games throughout the 3.5 million square-foot facility.