Little River Casino Expansion

The Little River Casino Resort in Manistee, Mich., will add a new concert venue as part of a $30 million expansion project that broke ground November 21st.

This is the second phase of development at the facility, which opened in 1999. It is owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.

Casino Special Projects Manager Mark Wilson said the entertainment complex will include a 1,400-seat theatre designed with big-name acts in mind.

“We currently have a conference center that we’d been doing some entertainment acts out of, but that’s not really what it was intended to do,” Wilson told Pollstar. “We just had the Country Rat Pack ( Tracy Byrd, Blake Shelton and Andy Griggs) at our conference center and it was packed for all the shows. [The theatre] would have been a perfect thing for them.”

Wilson explained that much of the three-tier theatre’s design is based on artist riders and the details they include, such as a stage that’s 40-feet deep.

“We picked some name acts that we thought might be a little bit of a reach and that’s how we designed the entertainment complex,” he explained. “Specific stage dimensions, dressing room and green room requirements, access to and from the loading dock.

“We didn’t want to build something and then have a rider thrown in our face that we couldn’t accommodate.”

Also included in the expansion are 112 more hotel rooms and a “winter garden” with a pyramid-shaped glass atrium, large trees and a water feature.

The new hotel rooms are expected to open next summer. The entertainment complex and atrium are scheduled for completion in early 2007.

— Tina Amendola