OKLAHOMA CITY (Nov. 2, 2023) – Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby joined other tribal leaders and Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt today in providing an update on construction during the hotel topping off event at the site of the OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark.
Just one year after the Chickasaw Nation broke ground on the $400M tourist destination, officials paused to hold a topping off ceremony of the OKANA hotel and commemorate the placement of the final steel beam of the structure. Construction on all four of the major components of the projects is underway. The hotel is proceeding on schedule; the conference center and indoor waterpark have gone vertical, and excavation, trenching and piping have begun on the adventure lagoon.
“This ceremony today allows us to pause a moment to reflect on what has already been accomplished, and look forward to the completion of this project,” Anoatubby said. “The ultimate goal is to create an attraction that will build upon the considerable economic and creative momentum we have seen in Oklahoma and Oklahoma City in recent decades. We believe this resort and the Horizons District will add significantly to that momentum as they become both a destination and a hub for visitors interested in other area attractions.
“The City of Oklahoma City has been an outstanding partner with the Chickasaw Nation from planning through construction as we work together to make the OKANA Resort and Indoor Waterpark a reality. The Chickasaw Nation and Oklahoma City have developed an abiding respect for one another and an understanding that what is good for one of us is good for the other. We appreciate working with other forward-thinking leaders and governments who are willing to work with us.”
Situated along the Oklahoma River near downtown Oklahoma City and adjacent to the First Americans Museum, OKANA is designed to continue the momentum of economic development in Oklahoma City. OKANA will be a key component of the new Horizons District, which also features the FAM and Exhibit C Gallery.
The resort will feature an 11-story, 404-room hotel at which guests will enjoy luxurious accommodations, riverfront and lagoon views and proximity to downtown Oklahoma City and the Boathouse District.
A 4.5-acre outdoor adventure lagoon designed for relaxation and play will sit at the center of the property. The resort also will feature a 12,000-square-foot family entertainment center, a two-level indoor waterpark covering 100,000 square feet, 39,000 square feet of conference center space, a spa, a golf simulator with an additional 36,000 square feet of retail outlets and dining options adjacent to the resort. The development will also include an amphitheater. The amphitheater will accommodate 1,500 guests and have an adjacent outdoor lawn area that will be used for events or festivals.
The Chickasaw Nation also plans to relocate Exhibit C Gallery adjacent to the First Americans Museum (FAM) and OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark. The reimagined 10,000-square-foot First Americans retail gallery will feature a multi-use gallery space and up to seven rental art studios for native artists. The gallery space will work collaboratively to partner with FAM to complement the programs and activities already at the museum.
“We are very pleased with the considerable progress crews have made on the hotel construction, “ said Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Dan Boren. “Today’s event also gives us a chance to share the hotel’s progress as well as provide an update on the other major components of the project. We are rapidly approaching the opening of this development which is estimated to have a $1billion economic impact in the first decade.”
Other updates provided by Boren included:
- Since the start of October, the hotel’s exterior wall sheathing has been completed, the exterior wall waterproofing and roof penthouse steel has begun, and model guestrooms will soon be complete.
- About 75 percent of the interior wall framing is complete and the connector bridge to the resort’s 12,000 square-foot Family Event Center (FEC) has been installed.
- At the FEC, structural steel is about 80 percent complete and roof decking is complete in two of its areas. Stud framing at the FEC’s exterior walls and skylights is in progress and foundations for the south monumental stairs are installed.
- At the Indoor Waterpark, the final concrete wall panels were placed in early October and all the building and waterslide foundations and columns have been installed.
- Installation of underground piping for the Lazy River is in progress, as is the installation of the structural steel and exterior wall panels and the final roof steel and decking.
- The main lagoon pool piping and concrete floor has been installed and so has a swim-up bar.
- The Suntan Pool has been excavated and prepped for the installation of a concrete floor and masonry.
OKANA will connect easily with the Boathouse District and with the new Oklahoma River Cruises Ferry Landing, which is funded partially through a $4 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration. Additional access to the area will be available through the trails system from both the north and the south sides of the river. With the property located directly on the Oklahoma River, visitors will have a front-row seat to the starting line for U.S. Rowing National High-Performance Center’s 2,000-meter course.
During the construction phase, about 1,400 jobs will be connected with the project with about $80.7 million in payroll, according to a study done by Hotel & Leisure Providers.
Opening for OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark is planned for early 2025, pending any construction delays.
Wynne/Jackson, a Dallas-based real estate development firm, is assisting in the master planning for the entire project. New York-based Aquatic Development Group is the hotel and waterpark developer, while Wisconsin-based ADCI is the hotel and architect. Benchmark Pyramid Hospitality will operate the hotel and waterpark, which is expected to employ about 400 people in its operations. Arcadis also is serving as architect for the First Americans retail and art gallery and retail and dining components.
Johnson & Associates from Oklahoma City assisted with site preparation and ongoing civil engineering work while Tulsa-based Manhattan Construction Co. is building the resort.