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Rendering of a multi-story hotel with bright lights, sunny sky, and parking lot filled with cars
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Grand Island Casino Resort at Fonner Park Celebrates Groundbreaking

(OMAHA, Neb., January 5, 2024) – The future of gaming and entertainment has officially arrived in Grand Island, Nebraska. Designed by DLR Group in partnership with Elite Casino Resorts, a new world-class casino and hotel is underway at historic Fonner Park as officials ceremoniously celebrated the groundbreaking of the Grand Island Resort Casino on November 1, 2023. The project is expected to open by early 2025.

162 keys with a full-service salon, spa, and indoor-outdoor pool. The 37,000-SF casino gaming floor features a show lounge for local and regional entertainment, 750 slot machines and 20 table games, sports book and food and beverage offerings, including a rooftop restaurant with breathtaking views of central Nebraska.

The resort welcomes visitors with an exterior water feature meandering through the site, creating the feel of a river encompassing the project, by which the city’s name was derived as the Grand Island created by rivers. A dynamic facade sweeps across the plaza, porte cocherè, and walkways. On level two, a large roof deck overlooks the horse track and the state fairgrounds, and features meeting rooms, outdoor patio deck, and the hotel swimming terrace. The hotel tower embodies grain silos found throughout the state, symbolizing the core of each community and offers long range views of the city and the surrounding plains. The overall cladding hints at elements of old abandoned barns found along the surrounding country roads.

Balconies featured throughout are abstracts of the silos, picking up hints of curved geometry and the traditional corrugated metal cladding. The overall cladding hints at elements of old abandoned barns found along the surrounding country roads. The tone and scale reflect that of the weathering wood slats.

In collaboration with the architectural design, the interiors highlight each space with its own story for an authentic, destination-based resort, creating a sense of adventure for guests as they explore the property. Within the resort, our central design revolves around Nebraska’s diverse topography, featuring its rich farmland and endless beautiful prairies. Thoughtful design elements nod to the mesmerizing sunsets during harvest and the famous local Sandhill Crane migrations, immersing guests in the local essence.

Grand Island is historically known for its entertainment offerings, dating back to the 1950s when the Fonner family racetrack first opened its gates. The Grand Island Casino Resort signifies the next chapter for gaming and hospitality and serves as a beacon to recognize the Thoroughbreds, equestrians and community who have made Fonner Park what it is and what it can be in the future.

Learn more about DLR Group’s customizable approach to gaming and hospitality design.

DLR Group Senior Principal and Brand Communications Manager andy ernsting
For media queries, please contact: Andy Ernsting, Brand Communications Leader

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