Foxwoods Resort Casino’s $700 million, 2 million-square-foot addition – shown above in this rendering – is scheduled for completion in 2008.

A $700 million, 2 million-square-foot addition to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket will do more than just bring more gamblers and revelers to the area. The addition is also expected to provide another 2,300 jobs, a development that will help the area’s housing market as inventory is slowly growing.

“We think it will have a very positive effect,” said Mary Ellyn Vicino, senior vice president at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “It’s just more job opportunities.”

The casino expansion – which is scheduled for completion in 2008 – follows a recent influx of former Gulf Coast residents who were affected by Hurricane Katrina, another development that helped the housing market.

“Any time you’re bringing in new employees, it’s positive,” Vicino said.

The news is especially positive after southeastern Connecticut’s housing market slid in response to the possibility of the closure of Groton’s Naval Submarine Base New London, one of the region’s largest employers, according to Prudential Connecticut Realty New Homes and Land Division Director and Vice President Barry Rosa. Since the announcement that the base will remain open, the market has started picking up again, but the news of the Foxwoods expansion can only help.

“Absolutely it’s going to be good for the market,” he said.

There has been a shortage of affordable homes in the area, and the casino expansion will add jobs in many different income categories. But in areas like nearby Greater Norwich, which is not heavily developed, there are still a number of affordably priced homes, with some condominiums starting at around $150,000, Rosa said. Some new condos are selling in the $200,000 to $300,000 range.

There are also several apartment complexes being developed in Groton, Rosa said.

Prudential Connecticut is marketing three new subdivisions in the area, including a high-end one in Mystic on the waterfront.

“We’ve been doing a lot of stuff down there,” Rosa said.

Construction on the Foxwoods expansion, which will provide more room for gaming and entertainment, additional resort amenities and more convention and meeting space, broke ground on Nov. 15. The 14-year-old casino, which is run by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, will have a total of 13,500 employees and will be 6.7 million square feet once the expansion is completed.

“This new development project at Foxwoods is another fulfillment of our pledge, made years ago, to provide the very best in resort amenities for our customers,” said Michael Thomas, chairman of the Tribal Nation, in a prepared statement. “It is further proof that we intend to be the gaming destination of choice for everyone in the United States and the world.”

The expansion will include a new hotel tower with 824 rooms and suites and a 21,000-square-foot spa; meeting and convention space that will provide an additional 115,000 square feet of floor space, bringing the total to 170,000 square feet; a 50,000-square-foot ballroom, which will be twice the size of the existing ballroom in the resort’s Grand Pequot Hotel; pre-function area totaling over 18,000 square feet for receptions and events; a junior ballroom and meeting break-out space totaling over 30,000 square feet; a 4,000-seat performing arts theater for concerts and performances, which will include two nightclubs and three lounges; a casino with 50,000 square feet of gaming space that will accommodate 1,500 slot machines and 45 table games, bringing the property total to 8,900 slot machines and 425 table games; four restaurants of varying sizes offering casual to upscale dining; and four retail outlets with a combined space of 10,000 square feet.

The project follows the opening earlier this year of the Tribal Nation’s Lake of Isles resort, a pair of Rees Jones-designed-18-hole championship courses laid out around a 90-acre lake in the deeply wooded Connecticut countryside. The golf courses, one private and one public, have a year-round, high-tech Golf Academy and a rustic clubhouse that has become a popular spot for weddings and event gatherings.

The opening of the Lake of Isles project was part of the completion of the $300 million Rainmaker Expansion and resort renovation that featured the largest Hard Rock Cafe in New England, which continues to be one of the most successful cafes in the United States and abroad. The project also added additional gaming and retail space along with a major parking garage.