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Washington tribal casino breaks ground

5 September 2007

AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Washington -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- The Kalispel Tribe of Indians broke ground today for a $275 million destination resort that will include a 350-room hotel, casino and spa, a 2,300-seat special events venue, fine dining outlets and retail space.

A soaring, nine-story glass atrium that connects two hotel towers will be the resort's signature feature and become an instant regional landmark. The 50,000- square-foot atrium will feature waterfalls, a winding river, pathways and a cultural discovery grotto to create a year-round outdoor experience indoors.

"We value healthy communities, education, and a high quality of life," said Glen Nenema, chairman of the Kalispel Tribe of Indians. The Tribe's new resort will enhance these benefits for the entire community and present an opportunity to learn more about the Kalispel Tribe."

The project, which is being constructed on the tribe's reservation in Airway Heights, will encompass 660,000-square-feet. It will create up to 500 construction jobs and employ more than 1,500 people when it opens by 2010.

"The Kalispels have been working with the city on this project that will create hundreds of new jobs for the area," said Airway Height Mayor Matthew Pederson. "One of my goals has always been finding ways to improve our quality of life, and this resort will help do that."

Construction of the full-service resort comes less than seven years after the Tribe opened Northern Quest Casino in December 2000.

"Today is the realization of a dream and marks the beginning of our most ambitious project ever," Nenema said. "We are taking our Tribe and our community to the next level."

The new resort, five minutes from Spokane International Airport and just minutes off the busy I-90 corridor, will also include a 10,000-square-foot luxury spa and an expansive indoor pool.

The new casino will be almost three times larger than the existing gaming floor. It will offer 2,000 slot machines, 50 table games and 15 poker tables. The casino will also feature two lounges, one of which will be a unique, sphere-like, two-level lounge located in the center of the casino floor.

There will be parking for more than 3,000 vehicles, including a six -story garage, underground VIP parking and additional surface lots.

"The Tribe is building a destination resort that will provide Airway Heights and the entire region immediate business growth opportunities," said Kent Caputo, chief operating officer for the Kalispel Tribe's economic enterprises.

"This is something residents can be proud of and creates another unique focal point for visitors," Caputo added. "The Kalispel Tribe is committed to creating more than just another gaming operation. We're building a dynamic reason to visit this community."

Not all of the eye-catching features of the new resort will be inside the complex, said Peter A. Riverso, general manager of Northern Quest Casino.

"Whether guests arrive by land or by air, they won't be able to miss the atrium," Riverso said. "The Tribe's objective is to provide a complete entertainment experience for our guests."

Continued involvement in and support of the community is paramount to the Kalispel Tribe. Each month, Northern Quest Casino buys $1.7 million in goods and services, 80 percent of which is purchased from local or locally affiliated companies.

Additionally, the Tribe has donated $2.6 million to community events and organizations since 2001 and won the prestigious 2006 AGORA Award recognizing businesses in the region that exemplify leadership in supporting a strong economy and quality of life.

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