Designs on Building a New Icon in the Menomonee Valley

Hotel to reflect surrounding environment, borrow subtly from Native American culture

MILWAUKEE – When the hotel at Potawatomi Bingo Casino opens during the summer of 2014, residents and visitors to the area will experience an iconic 20-story tower along the skyline that integrates both traditional Milwaukee architecture and modern design. The hotel will also represent the area’s culture and geography and offer subtle nods to the storied history of the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe.

Potawatomi Bingo Casino and the Forest County Potawatomi hired Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group Architecture, Inc., to design the hotel project. “Our design philosophy is based on the belief that ‘Every Building Tells a Story®,’” said Cuningham Principal John Culligan. “We knew we had a great story to share about the Forest County Potawatomi’s rich history within Milwaukee and the Menomonee Valley as well as the Tribe’s culture and traditions. We integrated these stories as design metaphors to make up this wonderful destination resort unique to the Potawatomi. We hope everyone will be pleased.”     

The hotel tower will stand out along the Milwaukee skyline with its rooftop illuminated by large letters spelling out “POTAWATOMI,” welcoming all who approach from interstates 43 and 94, as well as those flying into Milwaukee. The hotel’s top floor features a “floating” prow-like roofline which will house several suites. This level will glow along the skyline at night and signify the exciting entertainment amenities housed within. Additionally, a modern glass enclosed “flame” at the top of the hotel’s tower references the Forest County Potawatomi’s role as “Keepers of the Fire.” Culligan summarized this design approach as “striving to build guest anticipation before they arrive and then delivering on that promise with ‘big wows’ they will only experience at the Potawatomi hotel/casino.”

The materials and color of the hotel’s base reflect the character of the industrial buildings throughout Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley, as well as the existing casino. Utilizing similar brick and precast stone will result in a seamlessly designed casino/hotel resort. To reflect the modern entertainment offered in the expanded resort, the hotel tower will rise from its masonry base adorned in a combination of green-tinted transparent and opaque glass to take on the look of Lake Michigan’s shimmery waves on a sunny day. The glass tower will be accented with off-white metal panels.

As guests approach the hotel’s porte cochere, they will see through full height window walls the lobby’s natural, warm and colorful palette that will complement the existing casino. A new conical glass rotunda, similar to the existing one above the casino’s Grand Lobby, will house a special meeting room at the east end of the hotel’s base. The existing rotunda at the casino will remain and serve as a corridor between the casino and the new hotel.

“When we sat down with Cuningham Group, our goal was to create a hotel that would be a source of pride for the Tribe, the city and the state,” said Mike Goodrich, General Manager of Potawatomi Bingo Casino. “I’m confident this project will meet and exceed the expectations of all of our stakeholders.” 

When complete, the hotel will feature 381 rooms, a spa, a casual dining restaurant, a lobby bar/lounge and meeting rooms. 

Potawatomi Bingo Casino is one of two casinos owned and operated by the Forest County Potawatomi Community. It is located at 1721 W. Canal Street, Milwaukee, Wis. The casino is a showcase for high stakes bingo, offering some of the nation's highest daily payouts.  A popular attraction for local guests, tourists and tour groups, the casino features blackjack, craps, poker, and roulette table games, video and reel slot machines, off-track betting, and a variety of live entertainment.  Potawatomi Bingo Casino is committed to raising awareness of the risks of problem gambling, maintaining a level of first-class customer service, while investing in its most valuable asset – its 2,600 multicultural employees.  Through the Forest County Potawatomi Community Foundation and Miracle on Canal Street, the casino supports numerous local charities and community organizations. Driving directions and more information about Potawatomi Bingo Casino can be obtained by calling toll-free, 1-800-PAYS-BIG or by visiting the website at