Expansion of Detroit's MotorCity Casino Progresses Despite Space Constraints

By Aram Kalousdian, Editor | September 28, 2010

A major renovation and expansion of the existing MotorCity Casino in Detroit is under way. The project includes adding 45,000 square feet to the existing casino; and a new 204,200-square-foot convention center, which will include 67,000 square feet of convention space and a 1,200-seat theater. The project also includes a 395,200-square-foot, 400-room hotel and a 933-space parking deck that will be connected to the hotel. MIG Detroit is the general contractor for the project. The $275-million project began in November 2005 and it is expected to be completed in the fall.

"We are using some colored concrete and we have some very decorative masonry work in our VIP drop-off area for the casino," Scott Lancucki, MIG casino addition and convention center project field superintendent, said.

"We're using two colors for the colored concrete and we're adding a hardener to it, which enhances the color. This is for high-traffic areas. These products are double-sealed, which also enhances the appearance of the product. There will also be some stained concrete in certain areas of the hotel and possibly the casino.

"We also have a lot of decorative glass features throughout the building, in the VIP drop-off area and in the casino addition."

Lancucki said that concrete pumps, cranes and concrete buckets have been used to place the concrete for the higher elevations. Much of the concrete has been poured in place in order to hold down the cost. J.J Barney Construction and Colasanti are the concrete subcontractors for the project. Schwing concrete pumps with up to 55-meter booms have been used on the project in order to place the concrete.

The hotel tower deep foundations included approximately 5,000 cubic yards of concrete and the hotel core wall mat foundations included two 4-foot thick mass concrete pours totaling approximately 750 cubic yards of concrete. A total of approximately 4,300 cubic yards of concrete was used for the end core walls for the hotel. The balance of the hotel foundations and slabs totaled 2,000 cubic yards. A total of 3,800 cubic yards of concrete is being placed for the convention center, theater and casino.

Lancucki said that the biggest challenge on this project has been working in a confined area.

"We're very confined. We're keeping a casino in operation. We're not building a new building in a closed-off construction site. The biggest challenge is to construct this in a safe and timely manner and keep the casino operating without affecting casino operations," Lancucki said.

Part of the project involves working on a building that is 100 years old, maintaining the integrity of the historical structure, and finding and using building materials that maintain the integrity of the structure.

"Anytime you're tying into an existing building, it's a challenge. Sometimes you don't have all of the proper documentation for what you're dealing with. So, we can open it up and have an idea of what we have, but sometimes adjustments must be made to accommodate tying the two buildings together," Lancucki said.

"All of our contractors have pulled together and pulled this off without a hitch. We've had no problems regarding the operation of the casino or its patrons' safety," MIG Vice President Paul Jenkins Jr. said.

Subcontractors on the project include: Whaley Steel Corporation (structural steel and precast erection); American Glass & Metals (glass and glazing); Applied Handling (loading dock equipment); Bayview Electric, L.L.C. (electrical); Blaze Contracting, Inc. (excavation); Bristol Steel & Conveyor Corp. (structural steel roof fabrication and erection); Camp Services, Ltd. (spa); and Cannon Electric Company.

Additional subcontractors include: Dovetails, Inc. (millwork); ECS Kahn, L.L.C. (low voltage); Hollowcore Inc. (precast slab fabrication); Lanaville Foundations (caissons); Leidal & Hart Mason Contractors (masonry); and Metro Steel Fabricators (structural steel fabrication).

Clawson & Killins Concrete is the ready mix concrete supplier. Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME) is the geotechnical engineer for the project and Giffels/NORR is the architect.


Project: MotorCity Casino renovation and expansion

General contractor: MIG Detroit

Cost: $275 million