On Thursday March 5, a large crowd gathered in the Winter Entrance area of Casino of the Earth as officials from the Mohegan Tribe and Mohegan Sun made the formal announcement for what Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority President and CEO Mitchell Etess called “the much-anticipated, long-awaited and very needed” project of a new hotel for Mohegan Sun.
In an energetic and exciting morning, representatives from the Tribal Council, Council of Elders, Mohegan Sun executives, local government officials, and Mohegan Sun employees were in attendance, along with special guests Governor Dannel Malloy and Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman.
The new hotel to be called “The Earth Hotel” is expected to give a significant boost to the number of visitors to Mohegan Sun, and help to remedy a large number of lost hospitality opportunities. Nearly 500,000 potential guests were unable to book reservations last year due to issues of pricing and/or lack of availability. The hotel will be designed by Kohn Pederson Fox (KPF); the designers of Project Sunburst and the Sky Hotel, and that construction would be supervised by A/Z Corporation, based locally in North Stonington. Conn.
Remarks by Chairman Brown centered on the continued vitality of the Tribe’s business concerns. Invoking Connecticut’s most famous author Mark Twain, he said “the rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated.” The new hotel will create and retain a sum total of over 1,000 jobs by combining construction jobs and permanent hospitality jobs once it is in operation. At the end of the project, Mohegan Sun’s totally employment is expected to reach over 7,000 team members. In addition, the project will involve an increase in goods and services provided by other regional businesses.
Chairman Brown later made comparisons to boxing (Brown’s grandfather was a boxer in the U.S. Navy). “We’re in a fight and we’re not standing still,” he said, and later continued “anyone who’s boxed or knows boxing recognizes that you put your weight on your front foot and lean into the fight…you don’t stand flat footed and you don’t stand still.” Brown noted that Malloy has also “leaned forward” in the fight, and thanked him for the symbiotic relationship that has evolved between the sovereign governments of Mohegan and Connecticut. As Malloy took to the podium, he offered his praise to the Tribe for its “vision and business acumen,” and gave his vote of confidence to the project, saying “from this sovereign government to your sovereign government, we are pleased to be a part of this plan.”
Etess closed the event by giving the attendees some basic facts about the new project. The $120 million, 400 room hotel will have its own valet parking system, a pool and fitness center, and access via a connecting corridor to the gaming, dining, shops and entertainment of Mohegan Sun. As guests of the new hotel prepare to enter the casino, the doors of Carlo’s Bakery will be found at the end of the corridor.