A $3 million state-of-the-art sports entertainment venue is under way at the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns.
The “arena” on the second level of the casino will feature the largest internal LED screen in Queensland and tiered seating for 132 viewers and two wheelchair users.
The main contractor, Prime Constructions, is employing as many Cairns sub-contractors and tradesmen as possible during the six-month work program, involving 15 separate contracts with up to 30 workers on site each day.
Casino marketing executive manager Richard Porter said the update was overdue.
“Upstairs has not changed in more than 15 years, so it is in need of a revamp,” he said.
As well as the $1 million sports theatre, including the 7m x 4m giant screen containing 40 panels, there is a sports arena bar, dry bars, the relocation of the main TAB and keno facilities from the first floor, a party pit and an after-game party area.
A centrepiece will be a central pendant light in the void between the two levels, called the “clouds” t will cascade from the roof of the second floor. Mr Porter said it would provide the “wow” factor.
“To some it will look like a cloud, to others like money falling from the sky,” he said. “People will look and decide for themselves.”
Mr Porter said the audio systems would include special zone speakers.
Prime refurbishment and fit out manager Scott Conners said the work was being done with as little disruption to casino patrons and staff. He said workers were entering the work site via a special entrance off Anzac Park.
“The aim is that no one should know we are there,” Mr Conners said.
Since the work started on January 3, the second floor has been gutted and everything removed except vital infrastructure, such as the escalators.
The elaborate $2 million reef and rainforest themed ceiling remains as well as the upper level mirror glassed walls.
Mr Conners said the work was “a godsend” during the wet season and a key advantage was all the work was in an air conditioned site.
“This is a great marketing project for us, a showcase to show what we can do,” he said.
Prime Constructions was started by Andrew Taylor, formerly of Matrix, three years ago and Mr Conners joined the firm last year. Mr Conners said the Reef casino job was the first major hotel and hospitality project for Prime.
The work is due to be finished by July.
“They will be able to confine the sound to designated areas so there is no crossover sound if, for example, a NRL game was being played on the big screen and an AFL game on another,” he said.
All the balustrades are being replaced with glass and there will be new carpets as well as a refreshed area for about 90 gaming machines that have been placed in storage.
The high-rollers area, Club Prive, is due for a makeover next year.
Mr Porter said the refurbishment would provide a welcome boost to the city’s economy