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Potawatomi Hotel & Casino plans to add second tower with 119 rooms in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley

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CLOSEPotawatomi Hotel & Casino plans to add second tower with 119 rooms in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley
Potawatomi Hotel & Casino plans to add second tower with 119 rooms in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley

During the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino 2014 opening, a luxurious presidential suite on the 18th floor that costs $4000 a night was shown. Mike De Sisti/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, flush with cash, announced plans Tuesday to build a second tower with 119 rooms — just under three years after the 381-room hotel opened in Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley.

The Forest County Potawatomi Community, which operates the hotel and casino, plans to begin developing the 19-story addition later this year — pending city approvals.

The project represents another $80 million investment, according to Tuesday's announcement by the tribe.

Along with more rooms and suites, the 180,000-square-foot addition will feature a spa and additional meeting space. It is expected to open in the spring of 2019.

The new tower will provide an even mix of both standard rooms and suites. 

The tribe expects to create 50 more hotel jobs through the expansion. Potawatomi Hotel & Casino, 1721 W. Canal St., has nearly 2,700 workers.

The hotel has been popular with casino guests since opening in August 2014, according to a tribal statement.

“By adding nearly 60 suites to the property with this expansion, we’re prioritizing our casino guests and their experience when visiting,” Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Chief Operating Officer Rodney Ferguson said in a statement.

“The rooms, along with the spa, will bolster the property’s reputation as an attractive destination for visitors in the region and beyond," Ferguson said.

The initial $97.5 million hotel was expected to expand the casino's customer draw from a 25-mile radius to a 100- to 150-mile radius, according to tribal officials.

Reports of a possible second hotel tower surfaced in February, with industry sources saying the Potawatomi Hotel was performing very well.

Indeed, Milwaukee's downtown area, a submarket that includes the Potawatomi property, continues to see strong occupancy and room rate growth even as more properties are built.

Both the SpringHill Suites and Kimpton Journeyman hotels opened last summer. Meanwhile, the Westin Hotel is to open at 550 N. Van Buren St. in June, and Homewood Suites is set for an August opening at 500 N. Water St.

Still, the dynamics driving the development of those hotels, including growing demand from both business and leisure travelers, probably don't play as big of a role with the Potawatomi expansion, said industry consultant Greg Hanis.

"Casino hotels are a different type of animal," said Hanis, who operates Hospitality Marketers International Inc.

"They use their rooms to get people in to gamble," Hanis said. "That's where the profit is for the casino."

That's especially apparent when one considers the Potawatomi Hotel's location – in the Menomonee Valley, just west of the 16th Street viaduct.

The other new hotels are near other typical demand generators: the Wisconsin Center convention facility, downtown office towers and the lakefront.

"Potawatomi is kind of out of the way," Hanis said.

At 500 rooms, the expanded hotel will be the second-largest in the downtown area after the 750-room Hilton Milwaukee City Center.

It will be a "significant player" among casino hotels, Hanis said.

But it will still be small compared with casino hotels in Las Vegas.

The seven largest hotels in Las Vegas range from the MGM Grand, with 5,690 rooms, down to the 3,993-room Bellagio, according to lasvegaslogue.com.

Tom Daykin can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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