French Lick Resort plans $17M expansionSeptember 18, 2018
From Local Sources
FRENCH LICK — As French Lick Resort continues to expand its reach and invest in the community, another addition to the resort landscape is coming soon.
The resort is launching construction on a $17 million project that will add 56 guestrooms and a new sports bar, with both being erected in the vicinity of the Event Center and French Lick Casino. The first phases of construction are underway, with both the six-story guestroom addition and sports bar slated for completion in the fall of 2019.
The sports bar and additional guestrooms are the latest major capital investment the resort has made over the past 12 years, following the opening of French Lick Casino in 2006; the adjacent Event Center that underwent a $20 million expansion in 2015; the nearby Exhibition Hall that is nearing completion of an extensive renovation; and the current renovation of the former Billiards and Bowling Pavilion into an upscale venue for weddings and other special functions.
“Both the new guestrooms and sports bar will be great additions to an area of the resort that has seen some incredible growth in recent years,” said Adina Cloud, the resort’s director of sales. “Our volume of Event Center business increases every year. Now, those guests will be able to access these new venues easily since both will be a short walk from the Event Center. These are also two products that will give our guests more choices as they complement our existing line of guestrooms and restaurants.”
The additional rooms will supplement the existing 686 guestrooms at French Lick Resort’s two historic hotels — 443 at French Lick Springs Hotel and 243 at West Baden Springs Hotel — and bring the resort’s overall capacity to 742 rooms.
The new rooms and sports bar are both going up near French Lick Casino, with the sports bar and Americans with Disabilities Act-accessible guestrooms on the ground level in an area that currently exists as casino shell space and exterior parking on the northwestern side of the casino. In total, the sports bar and new guestrooms will encompass 54,450 additional square feet.
“The addition of 56 rooms is only going to be advantageous, because we’re going to be able to attract more business groups and free up more rooms for leisure guests and casino guests,” said Chuck Franz, vice president of Cook Group, the parent company of French Lick Resort.
Construction of the rooms has been contracted to Krempp Construction, Inc., a Jasper company that is highly familiar with French Lick Resort’s brick-and-mortar projects. Heavily involved in the resort’s extensive renovations in the mid-2000s, Krempp Construction will this time oversee the creation of a brand-new facility with work beginning promptly on the new room structure.
The new rooms are also being designed with variety in mind. Along with the ADA-accessible rooms and standard-sized rooms, the new addition will feature approximately 12 larger suites and more adjoining rooms.
“With the historic nature of our existing rooms, we don’t have many adjoining rooms or suites,” Franz said. “With the addition of these rooms, we can accommodate more guest requests for those room types.”
Another one of those recurring requests has been a casual gathering spot. And while French Lick Resort features casual dining options like The Power Plant Bar & Grill and Ballard’s in the Atrium, the sports bar will introduce a new type of informal setting at the resort to share a few drinks or get a bite to eat.
The room additions and sports bar are expected to spur even more growth when it comes to the local workforce. Franz anticipates hiring more than 100 new associates to staff not only the new facilities, but the resort as a whole with the expected increase of guests looking for things to do all across the property.
“There’s going to be more guests, which means more carriage rides, more trolley stops, all sorts of those things,” Franz said. “It will increase jobs across the resort.”
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