Collaboration is the theme of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison’s relationship with the city of Madison, Wisconsin. On February 13, the Tribal gaming arm will present to the city’s Urban Design Commission its proposal for a significant upgrade and expansion.
The proposal includes increasing the casino square footage with a conference center, hotel, parking ramps and Heritage Center that’s less museum and more “experiential tourism” to highlight Ho-Chunk’s 11,000-year history in the region, Missy Tracy, Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison’s municipal coordinator, has said.
Ultimately, it will be a “showcase of this city,” according to Dan Brown, the executive manager of Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison.
The presentation comes Wednesday after years after intensive planning. The casino floor will expand by 145,000 square feet, the hotel will add about 150 to 250 rooms, and the conference/entertainment center will span roughly 115,000 square feet. Two 1,000-stall parking structures will accommodate an influx of visitors.
The expansion will run in the tens of millions of dollars. Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison was originally built for $8 million in 1999.
“It’s super, super exciting. We’ve had two feasibility studies conducted and we’re confident that this market could support the size and scope of this project,” Brown told The Cap Times. “We’re really excited about the fact we’re actually to a point of presenting to the city.”
Harmonious design elements will weave Ho-Chunk culture while paying respects to Madison. Potential solar energy and green roofs may provide sustainable sources of power. The Tribe is even considering geothermal—a major undertaking though constant source of energy—as a possible energy source for aspects of the project, reported The Cap Times.
“We want to add to the attraction of Madison, Dane County and the region,” Brown told The Journal Times.
Proposed $405 Million Development in Beloit
Beyond its Madison endeavor, the Ho-Chunk Nation seeks to develop a casino, hotel, water park, conference center and supported retail development in Beloit, Wisconsin. Ho-Chunk officials indicated last year that they intend to break ground in 2020 and open in 2021, pending federal and final state approval.
A document, drafted by the Department of Administration’s Division of Gaming, prepared for Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers for his transition into office, states: “The Compact with the Ho-Chunk provides for one more class III casino (as defined by the Indian Regulatory Act) for the Ho-Chunk Nation in Wisconsin. The Ho-Chunk have submitted an application for the transfer of land in Beloit, Wisconsin into trust with the Federal Government as required by the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act),” reported Beloit Daily News.
The Ho-Chunk Nation, federally recognized in 1963, employs more than 3,400 employees throughout the state of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. The Ho-Chunk Nation owns and operates Ho-Chunk Gaming Black River Falls, Ho-Chunk Gaming Nekoosa, Ho-Chunk Gaming Tomah, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wittenberg, Ho-Chunk Gaming Wisconsin Dells and Ho-Chunk Gaming Madison.