Deadwood Getting Big & Rich

Marc Oswald and Dale Morris of Morris Management Group, along with their client "Big" Kenny Alphin of Big & Rich, are some of the investors in a 3,500-capacity event center to be built in Deadwood, S.D.

Oswald told Pollstar the venue, dubbed Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel & Casino Resort, is a significant addition to the city.

Even though Deadwood is famous for Wild Bill Hickok’s deadly hand of poker, evil innkeeper Al Swearengen, countless bikers and 30 places to gamble, there isn’t a single performance hall. The nearest indoor venue is in Rapid City, S.D., about 40 miles away.

The new venue, which has a projected opening date of July 2009, will sit on 12 acres and include a 100-room hotel and casino. The 3,500-capacity hall will double as an event center for the venue and the city.

The venue is envisioned to host all types of musical entertainment as well as comedy, production shows and special events. Oswald estimated it could host more than 100 events a year. It hasn’t been determined whether he or the other owners would act as promoters.

The building will be built on the location of the Slime Plant, an old mining facility. Ron Wheeler, an investor in the project, told the Black Hills Pioneer that construction will start with a massive excavation project, including the removal of more than 50 feet of rock on the west side of the building. To make room for the casino, 16 feet of cement from the bottom floor has to be dug up. The excavation may begin as soon as August.

Despite the heavy construction work, the overall look of the Slime Plant will be retained and the venue will have a mining theme. The original building is an actual plant where gold ore was processed for many years, according to Oswald.

"It’s historical. It’s premium land, right at the head of Main Street in town … And we just love Deadwood," Oswald said.

According to the Pioneer, the idea to turn the Slime Plant into an entertainment complex was brought up several years ago by a previous investor.