Published On: Thu, Oct 17th, 2013

Design-build team named for new casino

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The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians’ Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise (TCGE) Board of Advisors has announced the design-build team for the new Cherokee County casino project. The TCGE announced at yesterday’s groundbreaking ceremony that; Whiting Turner Contracting Company, in a teaming partnership with tribal member owned contractor Owle Construction LLC, and Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc. will design and build the $110 million casino and hotel. The casino will be owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and will be managed by Caesars Entertainment Corporation.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company (WT) is a century old, employee-owned construction firm with extensive design-build experience and an excellent history of successfully completing hospitality, gaming and entertainment projects. WT has entered into a teaming agreement with Owle Construction LLC to assist with the construction of the project and with maximizing Tribal and local participation.

Owle Construction is owned by EBCI tribal member Jodie Owle Cook (51%), her husband Carroll Cook and Dean Weber. Founded in 2002, Owle Construction LLC has seen steady growth in its 11 years of business. Owle Construction LLC participated heavily in the construction of the $650 million Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort and is currently under contract to renovate hotel tower II, both phase I and phase II, along with the interior and exterior of the resort pool.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Owle Construction LLC are partnered with Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc., for the architecture and interior design of the project. Founded in 1968, the firm’s design approach emphasizes unique solutions for each client and is based on the concept that “Every Building Tells A Story”. Cuningham Group was also the architecture firm that designed Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee.

The casino will be located approximately two hours away from Knoxville, Chattanooga and downtown Atlanta and will serve the large and growing adult population living within that radius. In 2011, 7.4 million people age 21 or older lived within 2.5 hours of the casino site. Now, more than 7.6 million people adults live in that same area.

“The TCGE Board of Advisor and Casino Management are excited and pleased to have Owle Construction, Whiting Turner Contracting Company, and Cuningham Group as our partners to design and construct our facility,” said Ray Rose, TCGE chairman.  “All of these firms are strong performers with proven track records. The opportunity to have a Cherokee based native firm in a teaming agreement on such an important project is a source of pride for everyone involved. We look forward to constructing and opening a beautiful facility that will benefit the Eastern Band of Cherokees, Cherokee County and surrounding areas.”

The casino and hotel construction will create an estimated 600 jobs during construction.  Construction is expected to begin in the first calendar quarter of 2014.

- EBCI Public Relations