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Oneida Indian Nation Breaks Ground on $25 Million 'Exit 33' at Turning Stone Resort Casino

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Yesterday the Oneida Indian Nation announced a $25 million expansion project to Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, to bring multiple entertainment venues to its diverse clientele, according to a press release from the tribe. A rock ’n’ roll club, a country music dance hall, an ultra lounge and a retro piano bar are expected to open by summer 2013, in time to celebrate the resort’s 20th anniversary. When visitors take exit 33 off New York State Thruway I-90 this coming July, they will be offered what Turning Stone is billing as "entertainment at every turn." "It’s going to create a premier venue unlike anything else in Central New York,” Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter said at a press conference, The Syracuse Post-Standard reported. Construction of "Exit 33" will create 200 jobs, and an additional 100 permanent employees will staff the operations, officials said. The casino signed an agreement to use union labor during the expansion, and most of the construction jobs will be given to workers who live within 50 miles of the site, said Pat Costello, area representative of the Central and Northern New York Building Trades, in a statement. Syracuse, New York-based Hayner Hoyt Corp. will handle general contracting and construction management, and Skaneateles, New York-based Ramsgard Architectural Design will perform the design work.

The music of each of the venues inspired architect Andy Ramsgard's unique designs. For instance, the country western joint is shaped like a barn, and the rock 'n' roll club resembles "that kind of cavern that the Beatles played in," Ramsgard told Central New York's Your News Now. Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. and New York State Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi praised Exit 33 for the tourism and jobs it will bring to central New York. “This latest venture adds to the incredible home-grown success story that the Oneida Indian Nation has developed at its Turning Stone Resort," Picente said in the press release. "The efforts of the Oneida Indian Nation have helped to transform Oneida County into a major tourist destination, which not only helps the Nation and its members, but all the people and businesses of Oneida County who gain from the growth of tourism. I commend the Nation and its leadership for the vision that has guided its growth, and I look forward to the success of Exit 33, another great venue that puts Oneida County on the map.”

Oneida Indian Nation officials said the expansion will be Turning Stone's first major construction project since the addition of the Lava nightclub in 2007, reported Another example of the tribe's commitment to reinvest in the community is the addition of the new "TS Steakhouse" to its resort casino. The Nation enlisted restaurant consultant Elizabeth Blau, founder of Blau + Associates, to design the menu at the restaurant, which will be located atop the tallest building between Albany and Syracuse. Read more about the Nation's plan to turn Central New York into a culinary destination here.

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