TULSA - The River Spirit Casino will soon invoke a more tropical spirit as it rebrands itself "Margaritaville at River Spirit," and launches a massive expansion.
While the City of Tulsa continues to struggle on how best to develop along the Arkansas River, the Muscogee (Creek) Nation has continued to expand its operations on both banks of the river.
The tribe will build a new 500-room, 22-story hotel tower, another entertainment venue, a new restaurant, an event center, an additional parking structure, and a new casino.
The expansion is expected to take about two years to complete, will employ an estimated 1,800 people, and will cost about $250 million.
When operational, the expanded facility will employ about 800 additional people, according to estimates from the tribe.
The project will also require the city to reroute its jogging and biking trail, a move which some say will actually make it safer as it moves the path away from a very busy Riverside Parkway.
The Margaritaville concept has had success in several well-known gaming venues, including the Flamingo in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Biloxi, Mississippi.
The restaurant will be called Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Restaurant at River Spirit.
That begs the question: Will Jimmy be coming to Tulsa?
A spokesman for the casino says they're working on scheduling a concert in the near future. Buffet has previously played in Tulsa, at the Cain's Baillroom.
The Muscogee (Creek) Nation purchased the Riverwalk Crossing on the west side of the river last year.
That struggling property had seen hard times, and the tribe has plans to perhaps find ways to tie the property and facilities there into the River Spirit property, in terms of expanded lodging and entertainment options.
Part of the dream is to have water in the Arkansas River, and eventually offer a water taxi that would shuttle passengers back and forth from River Spirit to Riverwalk.