To open early 2025

Chickasaw Nation breaks ground on $400M OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark along the Oklahoma River

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Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby, along with tribal state and Oklahoma City leaders, participated Wednesday in the official groundbreaking ceremony for OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark, situated along the Oklahoma River. The place will be a $400 million tourist destination designed to continue the momentum of economic development in Oklahoma City. 

Governor Anoatubby said that it is expected that the OKANA Resort & Indoor Waterpark becomes “a significant economic driver of job growth and opportunities for everyone in the region”. The development is slated to open early 2025, pending any construction delays. 

“Today we celebrate the continuation of strong partnerships among city and state officials and private entities that have been integral in bringing this significant tourism and hospitality venue to central Oklahoma,” he added. 

The first phase of the project will develop about 40 of the 140 acres at the site held by OKANA MDE, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chickasaw Nation, The Ada News reported. 

The resort-hotel will feature an 11-story, 404-room hotel with luxurious accommodations, riverfront and lagoon views and proximity to downtown Oklahoma City, and the Boathouse District. Rooms will range in size from 420 to 720 square feet, larger than traditionally sized hotel rooms. 

The property will also feature a 4.5-acre outdoor lagoon, consisting of one main body of water with sandy beaches and two smaller bodies of water. A pedestrian bridge will stretch across the main body of water, allowing guests to easily move throughout the property. 

The resort will also include a 12,000-square-foot family entertainment center, a two-level indoor waterpark covering over 100,000 square feet, 39,000 square feet of conference center space, a spa, a golf simulator, and multiple retail outlets and dining options covering 36,000 square feet.

The development encompasses a 25,000 square foot First Americans Retail Gallery and Amphitheater as well, providing a space for artists to showcase and sell their work. 

Chickasaw Nation Secretary of Commerce Dan Boren stated the OKANA resort will employ about 400 people at first, and make an annualized economic impact of about $97 million in its first year of operation. It is estimated the 10-year economic impact of the development will exceed $1 billion. 

Eventually, full-time employment is projected to expand to as many as 800 direct and indirect jobs annually with a payroll of about $320 million over a 10-year period. The construction phase will see 1,400 jobs created. 

According to Boren, the projected 10-year taxation impact for this project is $107 million to the state of Oklahoma, $86.7 million to Oklahoma City, and $3.2 million to Oklahoma County. “It takes cooperation between governments at the tribal, state, and local levels for a project of this magnitude to come to fruition,” he said. 

Wynne/Jackson, a Dallas-based real estate development firm, is assisting in the development design for the entire project. New York-based Aquatic Development Group is the hotel developer, while Wisconsin-based ADCI is the hotel and waterpark architect. Benchmark Hospitality will operate the hotel and waterpark, which is expected to employ about 400 people in its operations. 

CallisonRTKL also is assisting in the master planning of the entire project and serving as architect for the First Americans Retail 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. will build the resort.

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