PLAINS TWP. — Pinpointing when the new hotel and convention center at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs will open is a question Mike Bean has been asked many times, and lately he has had to give a different answer as work progresses.
At a topping-off ceremony Thursday, Bean, president and general manager of Mohegan Sun, gave an update on the opening of the $50 million project connected to the casino.
“We started with ‘by the end of the year.’ We’re narrowing it to ‘mid-fall,’ ” Bean said.
Crane operators lifted a spruce tree to the rooftop, and Bean spoke of the significance of the ceremony. “This is a tradition symbolizing growth and luck to occupants of the building,” he said.
The steel superstructure has been completed and workers have started to enclose the seven-story building that will contain the hotel and convention center and the newest spa by owners Angie and Larry Morgan. Their 4,150-square-foot Spa Sapphire will be located on the first floor. “Being entrepreneurs, we definitely saw an opportunity and we wanted to expand on that opportunity,” Angie Morgan said.
Mohegan officials approached the Morgans about six or seven months ago about opening a spa in the new building, added Larry Morgan.
The Morgans own and operate The Sapphire Salon & Spas in Pittston and at the Shoppes at Montage in Moosic.
The owners were later notified they were chosen. They plan to hire between 20 and 30 people for the spa that will offer facials, massages, couple suites and state-of-the-art salon services.
The Morgans were thrilled to be involved in what Bean called “a tremendous addition” to the Mohegan property. The hotel will have 238 rooms, a bistro, an indoor pool and fitness center and the 20,000-square-foot convention center able to seat 850 people for dinners and other floor events. It also will be able to hold entertainment events for 1,500 people.
The decor “will be reflective of the interior of the casino,” Bean said.
Members of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority that owns the Luzerne County property and others throughout the country attended the ceremony. Mohegan Tribal Council Chairman Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum welcomed them and said he was amazed at how much was accomplished since the groundbreaking last summer.
Bozsum thanked the workers for a job well done and said Mohegan Sun will continue to play an important role in the region and maintain the more than four-century tradition of being a good neighbor.
“Work with our neighbors. Give back what we can,” Bozsum said were words the tribe lives by dating back to its chief Uncas.
The tribe always tries “to give back to every charitable donation, every community service that we can contribute to, and that’s what makes us the proudest” and distinguishes them from others in the gambling industry, Bozsum said.
Members of the Greater Pennsylvania Regional Council of Carpenters took issue with his comments on being community-minded.
Near the casino’s Fox Hill Road entrance, two men in hardhats handed out fliers that read “SHAME ON Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs For Desecration of the American Way of Life.” The flier stated that KNL Construction Co. does not meet area labor standards for all of its carpenter craft workers by not fully paying pension and family health benefits.