The new Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s open floor will have 1,500 slot machines. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The new Quil Ceda Creek Casino’s open floor will have 1,500 slot machines. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

An early 2021 opening is in the cards for new Tulalip casino

The 126,700-square-foot Quil Ceda Creek Casino will replace the current one across the road.

TULALIP — Slot machines are covered and signs are still being installed, but the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino is approaching its 2021 debut.

Detail work is primarily what remains for the $125 million project that neighbors its predecessor, west of I-5. The new 126,700-square-foot development will dwarf the original casino, both in size and amenities.

“Space has been limited at the current (casino). I think we’ve outgrown the facility,” said James Ham Jr., the casino’s executive director of operations. “Realistically we can’t provide all the games that are available; this new facility will allow us to do that.”

More of everything is the approach at the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino, according to Ham.

There’s a 212-seat dining hall, a 137-seat restaurant, three full-service bars and an entertainment lounge that can accommodate 189. With the addition of a six-floor parking garage with upward of 1,000 parking spots, parking at the casino will increase by more than 700 spaces.

The casino floor will include 1,500 slot machines, a 50% increase from the old venue, and 16 table games.

The Kitchen restaurant inside the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Wednesday in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The Kitchen restaurant inside the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Wednesday in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

“Every game that they are already able to play right now at the Quil Ceda Creek Casino, they’ll be able to play — and a lot of new games,” Ham said.

Eateries planned for the “Q,” as it is known, include The Kitchen, an innovative food hall that allows customers to pick from a wide-range of made-to-order cuisines. The Landing is an a la carte restaurant with an eclectic menu, open 24/7.

Belinda Hegnes, the casino’s interim executive vice president, said 200 employees are being added to staff the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino.

“I think this is a great opportunity,” she said. The hiring “will be a huge plus for the Tulalip Tribes and greater Snohomish County.”

After breaking ground in late 2017, issues arose between the tribes and the original general contractor, delaying the anticipated 2019 completion date. Andersen Construction of Seattle took, with Thalden Boyd Emery Architects of St. Louis, and construction resumed in 2019, according to the Tulalip News.

Inside the fine-dining restaurant at the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Wednesday in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Inside the fine-dining restaurant at the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino on Wednesday in Tulalip. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

The casino’s location on sovereign tribal land allowed building to continue amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite statewide lockdowns initiated by Gov. Jay Inslee.

“Construction was considered essential business for the Tulalip Tribes, so we continued with construction through the closure,” Hegnes said. “We’ve maintained the timeline and kept on schedule.”

Hegnes said masks, temperature checks and screenings have become the new way of business.

In May, the Tulalip Tribes opened both the Quil Ceda Creek Casino and the Tulalip Resort Casino with safety measures in place after closing at the onset of the pandemic.

“We are managing to a maximum occupancy number to ensure all guests are safe when they are visiting the Quil Ceda Creek Casino,” Hegnes said.

A grand opening date has not been set for the new Quil Ceda Creek Casino, but officials anticipated an opening early in 2021.

Ian Davis-Leonard: 425-339-3448; idavisleonard@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @IanDavisLeonard.

Ian Davis-Leonard reports on working class issues through Report for America, a national service program that places emerging journalists into local newsrooms to report on under-covered issues. To support Ian’s work at The Daily Herald with a tax-deductible donation, go to www.heraldnet.com/support.

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