Greektown Casino will undergo a major renovation that will include new access points, better signage and visibility, upgraded décor, and new air handling equipment. The improvements will start in a few months and could take as long as two years to complete.
“We’ll keep the plane flying as we go, but some of the space in the casino is chopped up given the original design of the building, so we want to fix that,” says Matt Cullen, president and COO of Rock Gaming, an affiliate of Rock Ventures, which is the umbrella entity of Dan Gilbert’s portfolio of companies. “Right now you might visit a cool place inside the casino, but you might not know how to get back (to that spot) the next time.”
Cullen adds that patrons may see a lounge or a restaurant from the street, but may have trouble accessing the space. “We’re looking at improving parking and traffic as well, and whether I-375 will be upgraded and what that will look like,” he says. “If the freeway is elevated and comes to the street level, we want to maximize those improvement relative to Greektown Casino.”
Cullen says Rock Gaming and its design team, which includes Rossetti in Detroit, is studying current and upcoming venues in Detroit and how they impact the Greektown Casino. The additions include a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings at the northwest corner of I-75 and Woodward and the M-1 Rail line on Woodward Avenue, which is expected to be operational in the next three years.
In addition, Rock Ventures recently submitted a bid to acquire the unfinished Wayne County jail complex at I-375 and Madison Avenue. The county is looking to move its justice complex, including the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, to the city’s east side. “If new, complementary entertainment uses come to the (jail) site, we want to see how that can be leveraged to benefit Greektown Casino,” he says.
During a presentation to the Detroit Chapter of EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) last week at the Madison Building, Gilbert talked about the need to upgrade the Greektown Casino.
“Both MotorCity and MGM went ahead and opened permanent facilities, and while Greektown built a new (400-room) hotel, it never really built a permanent gaming facility,” Gilbert says. “We see a lot of potential for growth at Greektown, and we really want to be part of the surrounding neighborhood.”