Four Winds South Bend expansion to feature 23-story hotel tower

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) There’s a big project in the cards at the Four Winds Casino in South Bend.

Plans for the construction of a new hotel were unveiled today.
Even if you never stay there—odds are you’ll see it.

“It will be reflective and it’ll be illuminated in the evening. It’ll look great,” said Four Winds General Manager Frank Freedman.

The hotel will also be 23 stories tall making it the second tallest building in South Bend (behind the 25 story Liberty Tower).

The hotel will have 317 rooms (compared to 291 at the Double Tree) making it South Bend’s largest.

“I think it’s just going to add to our product I mean from what I heard today, the amenities they’re going to be offering are really going to set themselves apart,” said Rob DeCleene, Executive Director of Visit South Bend/ Mishawaka. “And it’s just going to become another reason to come to South Bend, host a meeting here, host an event here and really sort of have the type of visitor experience that you can’t have in any other product that we have in town.”

It’s being billed as a first class resort with a full day spa, a pool, and hospitality suites with hot tubs on the terraces.

It is also designed to expand business at the South Bend Four Winds beyond gaming.

“We think that there's a blue ocean of opportunity for conventions, conferences, meetings, weddings, social events, things like that, that currently we're unable to really accommodate up in New Buffalo because it displaces our business model up there,” said Four Winds General Manager Frank Freedman. “We turn away a lot of that business there because a lot of it is weekend driven. Now we’ll be able to take that business and this hotel is built to accommodate that kind of business in addition to gamers.”

Freeman says the future might bring concert options seeing as the ballroom could accommodate a crowd of up to 900.

In an unrelated move the tribe has formally asked the State of Indiana to negotiate a gaming compact that would make a big difference on the gaming floor.

“We could offer a better experience for our customers. We, right now, the only table game we can offer is poker so we would be able to offer all the other table games that we have in New Buffalo, craps, roulette, black jack,” said Pokagon Tribal Chairman Matt Wesaw.

Wesaw says September 21st will mark the 25th anniversary of the tribe being recognized by the federal government.

“Our focus is on health care we just opened up an addition to our clinic am $8 million addition. We’ve got four medical doctors on staff plus a lot of other medical providers, several of those are Pokagon citizens,” Wesaw said. “Our education program is excellent. Anybody, regardless of age wants to go back to school, can go back to school and we pretty much cover all those costs.”

EARLIER VERSION:

Four Winds South Bend is undergoing an expansion that will feature a 23-story hotel tower, the Pokagon Gaming Authority announced Wednesday.

"There will also be a spa, convention area, meeting space, a ballroom, lounge, bar & grille, an outdoor roof-top swimming pool, and terraces with spectacular views," the gaming authority revealed.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Wednesday morning, and construction is expected to take approximately 24 months.

Click here to watch our Facebook Live coverage of the announcement.

Mark Peterson was at Four Winds South Bend for the announcement, and he'll have a full report beginning on 16 News Now at 4.



From the Pokagon Gaming Authority:

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — September 11, 2019 — The Pokagon Gaming Authority, which oversees the management and operations of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians' gaming enterprise, is pleased to announce the expansion of its fourth and most recent property, Four Winds® Casino South Bend. The details of the expansion were highlighted today during a press conference at the property, with members of the Pokagon Gaming Authority and Tribal Council, Pokagon Elders Council, Pokagon Citizens and Four Winds Casinos management also taking part in a groundbreaking ceremony.

The expansion of Four Winds South Bend will feature a 23-story hotel tower with 317 rooms, including 83 suites. There will also be a spa, convention area, meeting space, a ballroom, lounge, bar & grille, an outdoor roof-top swimming pool, and terraces with spectacular views. Construction will take approximately 24 months.

"We've been very pleased with the response from the community and the performance of Four Winds South Bend since it opened in January 2018. The expansion will bring to life a variety of exciting features and amenities we envisioned during our original planning process," said Matthew Wesaw, Tribal Council Chairman and President of the Pokagon Gaming Authority. "Not only is this expansion an important milestone for all Pokagon Citizens, but it also demonstrates our ongoing economic commitment to support the South Bend community including the creation of more than 400 temporary constructions jobs and approximately 100 permanent new jobs to support our ongoing operations."

"For the past twelve years, the Pokagon Band and its Four Winds Casinos have established a standard for excellence, not only in the Midwest, but also nationally. Our casino resorts have consistently been ranked among the best in the country, and we believe these enhancements will make Four Winds South Bend unrivaled in the State of Indiana," said Frank Freedman, COO of Four Winds Casinos. "From the design, use of materials and the finish work, Four Winds South Bend will offer a premium resort-style feel and amenities you'll find at top resorts in the country."

Four Winds South Bend currently has 140,000 square feet of gaming space and includes more than 1,400 games, four restaurants, a players lounge, a coffee shop, three bars, a retail outlet, and approximately 4,500 parking spaces including an enclosed parking structure.

Partners supporting the Pokagon Band and Four Winds Casinos in the expansion of Four Winds South Bend include architect, HBG Design of Memphis, Tenn.