If you've driven by Casino Aztar in downtown Evansville lately, you've probably noticed all the crews working on the hotel. They are painting, fixing all the windows, and repairing the wall surface. But inside, General Manager Ward Shaw says it's starting to look like a new hotel.
"It is intense. Any renovation project is hard when you have an operation like ours that really never stops. We're a 24 hour 7 day a week business," Ward Shaw said.
One by one, the rooms are being gutted, 251 to be exact. This is what the bedrooms and bathrooms use to look like. But they are getting a fresh and updated look. New ceilings, carpet, furniture, and bright new bathrooms. The lobby will also be renovated. But with progress, come problems.
"In October and November, both of those months we'll have 5,100 rooms out of service. That's a lot in a community this size of Evansville and we're really, we're the largest hotel property. That's going to significantly impact the room revenue in those two months," Shaw said.
Shaw says the downtown entertainment anchor is taking a big hit.
"Our average room rates somewhere between $80 and $100 depending on the day of the week. So that's a pretty big hit. But again, as the investment that we feel is the right thing to do to significantly improve the guest experience in these rooms and we think it will pay off in the long term," Shaw said.
The hope is to draw more people from outside the region to the River City, one brand new room at a time.
Casino Aztar hopes to have the rooms finished by the end of the year, just in time for Christmas and New Year's.