The Quapaw Tribe announced plans Monday for an upscale casino resort in the tri-state area.

“Our resort will be unlike anything in the region,” said John Berrey, chairman of the tribe. “It will be a destination resort that attracts tourist dollars from outside of the region and it will initially employ about 1,200 people.”

According to Berrey, Downstream Casino Resort will pump millions of dollars into the region's economy by providing high-paying jobs and making heavy purchases of goods and services from local suppliers.

Phase 1, estimated at $200 million, includes a 240-room luxury hotel, a casino, restaurants, shopping and a 10,000-square-foot meeting facility.

Phase 2 will include a conference center, spa and salon.

Phase 1 is projected to open in July 2008. The complex will include and preserve the historical Three-States Monument that marks the spot where Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri intersect, and the monument may be used as a site for special events, photographs and tours that celebrate Native American culture and state history for all three states.

Berrey said the casino will be located on the Oklahoma side, adding restaurants, retail shopping, parking facilities and other infrastructure will be constructed on the Kansas and Missouri sides. The resort will have a striking appearance as an entertainment and tourist attraction along Interstate Highway 44, which passes just south of the Three-States Monument.

“This is something the Quapaws have wanted to do for a long time,” Berrey said, “because we knew the three-states property was ideal for an upscale resort. It would be huge for the region's economy.”

Downstream Casino Resort is named for the Quapaw Tribe's original name: O-Gah-Pah. It means “the downstream people,” as they were named by related tribes centuries ago.

Accoring to Berry, an impressive collaboration of partners has formed to develop the resort.

G. Michael “Mickey” Brown of Sea Girt, N.J., the casino project manager, has previously developed and overseen some of the country's largest and most prestigious casino resorts, including Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., the world's largest and most successful casino, and Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

“The Downstream Casino Resort will be comparable with the best of the best in terms of quality and service,” Brown said.

“The Quapaw Tribe will make this first-class, and it will be very impressive.”

Initial employment will be about 1,200 persons and the annual payroll will be about $42 million, with $9 million in employment benefits, according to Berrey.

The resort will purchase an estimated $30 million a year in goods and services from vendors, Berrey said.

A market study projected the resort will attract more than two million visitors annually.

The 70,000-square-foot casino floor will feature 2,000 slot machines, 30 table games and 15 poker tables. The upscale hotel will feature 240 rooms and 10 luxury suites, valet parking and numerous high-end amenities including retail shopping on the ground level.

There will be a 250-seat buffet restaurant and a 100-seat upscale steakhouse, as well as a 24-hour food court off of the casino floor featuring a sports bar and an entertainment venue for concerts and other performances.

The spa will include an outdoor swimming pool and, in later development phases, will include a fitness center, salon and massage services.

Conference facilities will include 10,000 square feet of meeting and convention space.

“We are extremely excited about bringing a resort of this quality and scale to the tri-state region, and we think everyone else will be pleased with it, too,” Berrey said. “We look forward to being a good corporate citizen in the surrounding communities and making this a tourism success story for the entire region.”