Black Bear Casino & Resort

Carleton, Minnesota


Coming on the heels of several stops and starts with design issues and budget, the client was unsure of the project path to achieve their objectives or timeline.


The team started by addressing the biggest issues first by brining in a designated construction company from day one. By addressing Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) concerns, the project was immediately revamped and re-imagined. Tribal leadership wanted a design with a north shore flavor, incorporating a contemporary twist. Using colors and materials native to Northern Minnesota, the design team created a destination resort and attraction, not just another casino.

For an industry unused to high ceilings and large, open window environments, the 24-foot high ceilings were a twist that brought the brand home. South facing clearstory window bays with diffused light brought the beauty of nature inside the gaming space. A raised floor accommodated HVAC where heating and cooling was pushed up through the floor versus conventional systems that push comfort systems “down.” The result: cleaner, improved air quality. A V-column system replaced a conventional grid structure to open up the gaming floorspace and draw people onto the gaming floor.

As part of a detailed phased project, the team ensured the facility would remain in operation, including the gaming floor, during expansion. The design and construction team created an innovative construction plan that kept operations open, particularly the gaming floor. The team started with work on the parking ramp, then moved the gaming floor to the convention center and back again. Overall the design increased the capacity of all food and entertainment venues, restaurants and bars, even adding a fine dining steakhouse to bring an upscale flair.

Uniquely qualified to maximize the processes and budgets of casino operators, the team’s unique approach ensured creation of an exciting and entertaining hospitality dining and gaming experience for guests, entirely on schedule and under budget.

Copyright © Mesaba Capital Partners
5201 Eden Avenue, Suite #250
Edina, MN 55436
Phone: 612-840-9801