Twin River breaks ground on hotel, spa

LINCOLN, R.I. (WPRI) — Ceremonial shovels went into the ground Tuesday morning next to the north entrance of the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, launching the construction of a $25-million, 135-room “amenity” hotel and spa, slated to open next June.

It won’t be a tower like hotels at Connecticut casinos Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, Twin River officials said. The hotel will only be four stories tall, to match the height of the currently standing building. In addition to guest rooms, the hotel will offer a spa, pool and fitness center, outdoor patio and function space, boardrooms, and valet parking.

John E. Taylor Jr., president of Twin River Worldwide Holdings, said the hotel was a long time in coming — and for a time, was even against state law.

And it wasn’t originally Twin River’s idea to seek a hotel on the property. Back in 2014, state Rep. Robert Phillips, D-Woonsocket, drafted a bill that removed language prohibiting a hotel from being built at the former Lincoln Park. Phillips told the Providence Journal at the time that the state needed to make Twin River a “destination casino” to preserve and bolster revenue. The law allowing the hotel received state approval.

In the end, the casino owners determined it was time to make the move and worked to convince Lincoln town leaders and state lawmakers that installing a hotel on the Twin River property would be a benefit.

“We always try to be pretty sensitive to their desires,” Taylor said.

Taylor added that the project has received “a tremendous amount of support, not only in Lincoln but statewide.” Casino guests and other customers have been enthusiastic, he said.

Construction is expected to employ about 70 union workers, and once the hotel opens for business it’s expected to provide about 30 permanent jobs.