Friday, April 21, 2017

La Center Casino Opens this Month

Photo by Cale Johnson, The Reflector
The new Ilani Casino opens up on the Cowlitz Reservation Land at exit 16 on I5 this Monday. Although it is officially in Ridgfield (by zip code) it is at the La Center exit. This is a large casino not at all unlike Oregon's enormous Spirit Mountain Resort in Polk County, Oregon.

Ilani has the advantage of being less than 25 miles from Downtown Portland, making it the closest major casino to the bulk of the Portland-Vancouver metro area. There is still much to be built including the hotel and several of the planned restaurants.

All of this came at the cost of a great controversy surrounding this development. I am not going to opine on the pros and cons of such an endeavor but rather on the ramifications to the real estate market. This is a $500 million project with the casino coming first and then this fall a convention space will open and later yet a future 400 room hotel to round out to whole "resort" notion. $500 million is no small amount my friends this is a big deal.

The casino is planning on employing at least a 1000 people initially as reported by local newspaper, The Columbian, last month. More jobs are sure to follow as more of the 'resorts' infrastructure comes on line. A dozen restaurants are planned to support the massive 368,000 square foot casino gaming floor.

I would imagine that Ridgefield, Woodland, La Center and Northwest Vancouver will enjoy a perk in demand for both rentals and resale homes to house the hundreds and soon to be thousands of employees that will work in this 'resort'. Of course our local inventory of both rentals and resales is tight, tight, and a little tight. This may continue the upward pressure locally despite some national trends that are showing signs of a slight flattening in the market.

Love it or hate it the Ilani is here and our real estate market will feel its presence. Sellers, get ready, more buyers are heading your way.

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