Chickasaw Nation plans resort hotel, casino on Lake Texoma
The Chickasaw Nation has plans to develop a resort hotel and casino on former state park land on Lake Texoma.
The tribe envisions transforming the site where the former state-run Lake Texoma Lodge and Resort once stood into a tourist destination once again, said Bill Lance, secretary of commerce for the Chickasaw Nation.
"It's such a great piece of property with great views," Lance said. "We've always had an interest in that site."
An affiliate of the tribe, Texoma Development Holdings LLC, finalized the land purchase for the project from the state on Thursday for $4.2 million. The transaction involved 50 acres of lakefront property overlooking Lake Texoma and the historic Roosevelt Bridge, as well as 11.5 acres of land acquired by the Oklahoma Commissioners of the Land Office from the Oklahoma Department of Tourism and Recreation.
Preliminary plans call for the Chickasaw Nation to construct a three-story hotel, restaurant and gift shop on the site, as well as a casino with up to 300 electronic games. The development also will include as many as 10 lakefront cottages for fishing and boating.
The hotel will feature a lounge and meeting rooms, an outdoor pool and recreation area, a fitness center, restaurant and business center.
Residents of the Marshall County town of Kingston, population 1,600, are hopeful the development will bring new jobs and tourism to the area, said Art Hackler, member of the Kingston Town Council.
Kingston is a short drive from Dallas, Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and the area has missed out on millions of dollars in tourism money since the state lodge and resort closed its doors at Texoma State Park a decade ago.
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"We have the most beautiful spot in the world and we are within 100 miles of probably 4 million people," Hackler said.
The Chickasaw Nation long has been a rumored suitor to develop the former state park land, and Kingston already has invested $400,000 in upgrades to its sewer system in anticipation of the new resort development, Hackler said.
The Chickasaw Nation first must apply to the federal government to place the land into trust status — a process that potentially could take several months or more, Lance said.
The project is the result of a settlement negotiated by the Commissioners of the Land Office, which worked to bring a resolution to the property that was once home to the popular state lodge and resort. A private developer bought the property in 2006 and the lodge was demolished in 2009, but plans did not come to fruition. Developers blamed the economic downturn of 2008.
The Commissioners of the Land Office repurchased the 50 acres of Texoma land from Pointe Vista Development LLC for $4 million earlier this year as part of a legal settlement with the company after the developer failed to meet deadlines for building a hotel on the site.
"We believe this project will help launch a transformation of this area into a major tourism and recreation attraction," Gov. Bill Anoatubby for the Chickasaw Tribe said in a statement. "We look forward to working with the state on a project we expect to have a positive impact on jobs and our economy for decades to come."
Gov. Mary Fallin said she has been a longtime believer in the potential of the Lake Texoma area to be an economic driver in Oklahoma.
"This project will create jobs and revenue for southern Oklahoma while at the same time maintaining the beauty of the site," Fallin said in a statement. "The Lake Texoma lodge and golf course for many years were a top tourist attraction in the region. This hotel and commercial development will be the catalyst to stimulate significantly greater economic development in the future. I appreciate Governor Anoatubby's vision and willingness to partner with the state of Oklahoma to continue our joint efforts focusing on tourism in this beautiful and strategically located part of our state.”
The development will be off U.S. 70, across from the Chickasaw Pointe Golf Course near the site of the old state lodge. Preliminary plans allow for future expansion of the hotel and the construction of additional waterfront cottages.