Many parties are involved in the Kewadin Lansing project. Below offers a deeper look into the Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Lansing Future, LLC, the developer on the project.
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians
The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is a modern expression of the Anishinabeg who have lived in Northern Michigan millennia. With 38,000 members, the Tribe is the largest federally recognized Indian tribe east of the Mississippi.
The roots of the Tribe’s modern government extend back to the 1940s, when a group of Sugar Island residents gathered to talk about their common history. These people were descendants of the Anishinaabeg who for hundreds of years had made their homes near the rapids of the St. Mary’s River that flows between Canada and what is now Michigan’sUpper Peninsula. This area would later become the City of Sault Ste. Marie,Michigan.
Over the next several decades, the descendants worked to gain federal recognition of their tribe, which was a difficult task that required extensive ancestral and legal research. Finally in the early 1970s, tribal leaders traveled to Washington and successfully submitted their historical findings and legal argument to the Secretary of Interior, who granted federal status in 1972 as the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians. Land was taken into trust in March 1974, and the Sault Tribe’s Constitution — the final step in this long process — was adopted in fall 1975.
As a sovereign government under federal law, the Sault Tribe provides many of the services the State of Michigan and federal government provide to their citizens. Tribal member programs and services offered in its seven county service area, the original lands of the tribe, include health care, education, elder care, courts and law enforcement, sanitation, numerous human services, group homes, housing, recreational services, child care, head start, conservation and educational opportunities.
The Tribe uses revenues from casino gaming for no other purpose than to support programs and services for its members. Kewadin Casino revenues accounted for 55% of the tribe’s revenue in 2009. The monies also help to maintain and expand these services as well as employ hundreds to ensure the effectiveness of the programs.
The Sault Tribe successfully operates five northern Michigan casino properties. Kewadin Casinos celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. With locations in Sault Ste. Marie, St. Ignace, Hessel, Manistique and Christmas, Kewadin employs 1,000 people with an annual payroll of more than $25 million. In 2009, the five Upper Peninsula casinos drew 3.5 million customers from around the state and country to their facilities.
When Kewadin Casinos opened in November 1985, it was a one-room blackjack house with 80 employees. Now, the casinos have 86,000 square feet of gaming space with 2,000 slot machines and 50 table games. The casinos have more than 500,000 square feet of facility space with seven restaurants and delis, two on-site hotels, a 25,000-square-foot convention facility, eight lounges, and four gift shops.
The casinos’ success has provided funds to expand the tribe’s business holdings from one casino to five and take ownership of multiple non-gaming enterprises. The casinos have brought year-round tourism to an area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that was once only a summer destination, contributed millions Michigan’s economy and donated millions more.
Kewadin Casino revenues accounted for 55% of the tribe’s revenue in 2009. The monies also help to maintain and expand these services as well as employ hundreds to ensure the effectiveness of the programs.
Statewide Economic Impact
The Tribe is one of the largest private employers in northern Michigan with more than 1,700 employees. The Tribe employs Tribal members and non-members.
Since 1986, the businesses and government services of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, including Kewadin Casinos, have pumped more than $4.4 billion into the State of Michigan, according to a 2002 study by KPMG, one of the world’s most respected accounting and business consulting companies.
The Tribe also has provided more than $31 million to local governments across the eastern U.P. through 2-percent funds since 1993. The funds, generated by slot machines at the Tribe’s five northern Michigan casinos, have been used by local governments to buy police and fire equipment, pave roads, create and maintain recreation areas, and more.
2-percent funds pay for road construction, schools, law enforcement, fire departments, emergency response teams and recreation services, and a wide range of special events and projects, from the Soo Locks 150th Anniversary Celebration of the I-500 race.
Lansing Future, LLC
The developer of the Kewadin Lansing project is Lansing Future, LLC.
Lansing Future LLC is an entity that has been formed for the sole purpose of serving as “developer” to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe. Lansing Future LLC was founded and is led by Jerry Campbell.
Campbell is also Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of HomeBancorp Inc., the bank holding company of HomeBanc N.A., headquartered in Tampa, Florida. He previously served as Chairman of the Board of Citizens Republic Bancorp Inc. and Chairman of the Board of Citizens Wealth Management. Campbell also previously held the position of Chairman of the Board of Republic Bancorp Inc. since it was organized, in addition to serving as the company’s Chief Executive Officer from April 1986 to January 2000. From April 1986 to January 1996, he also served as President of Republic.
Campbell’s background includes extensive involvement in higher education. He taught at Wayne State University, serving as an instructor of finance, banking and investment courses. Campbell also held a position on the Board of Trustees of Central Michigan University for 12 years, serving as Chairman of the Board for a four-year term. He has also contributed to the University of Michigan by serving on the Dean’s Visiting Committee for the Business School.
Campbell’s track record in business and in various local communities, in addition to the jobs created as a result of Campbell’s entrepreneurial efforts, is a track record that is a tremendous asset to this project as he assists the Sault Tribe in their efforts to grow and provide for its members. Campbell received the Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Inc. Magazine in 1993.
Bill Martines has been named Lansing Future’s Managing Director. Bill has a proven track record of creating asset value through both business and real estate development. He has extensive experience in several critical areas including finance, marketing and day-t0-day operations. Bill has been an entrepreneur and has also served as President for organizations other than his own. Bill is also President of All Day Interactive LLC and Founding Member of Union Circle LLC.