MICHIGAN CITY — Construction begins Oct. 1 on an $11 million expansion of the conference and convention space at Blue Chip Casino, Hotel and Spa.
Available space for meetings will increase 50 percent with the 14,800–square-foot addition.
Included will be a new 11,000-square-foot ballroom that can be divided into six smaller rooms, along with 3,800 square feet of pre-function space.
Demand for meeting rooms is so tight that only one room was available for Thursday’s announcement, Blue Chip General Manager Brenda Temple said.
Blue Chip currently has nearly 31,000 square feet of event and meeting space, including the 15,000-square-foot Stardust Event Center.
The expansion will allow Blue Chip to host more events, larger events and concurrent events at the property.
Some events outgrew Blue Chip's facilities, Temple said. Blue Chip Brewfest was moved to Blue Chip's parking garage.
"Some of these events, Brewfest being one of them, can now move back inside," she said.
The project is expected to be completed early next fall.
Thursday also marked the first day that Blue Chip began offering land-based gambling. Video poker is now offered at the sports bar on site, which Temple hopes will bring “significant incremental revenue.”
Blue Chip, operated by Boyd Gaming Corp., is also looking forward to offering sports betting someday, Temple said. That will require regulatory approval by the Indiana Gaming Commission.
Mayor Ron Meer said the city is glad to cooperate with Boyd in the Blue Chip expansion and other activities in Michigan City.
Meer planned to meet with Blue Chip officials Thursday to discuss ways to help the casino during construction work on the U.S. 12 bridge near there.
“Man, is there a lot of exciting things happening around Michigan City, and this is just one of them,” Meer said.