By Eric Jay Toll for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
“This is a major project for our community with its $26M cost,” says Gary Murrey, general manager for the San Carlos Apache Tribe’s gaming enterprises. The tribe has authorization for two casinos, and the location on Hwy. 77 between Mammoth and Dudleyville puts the new gaming resort hotel into the northern Tucson market.
Murrey said that the Tribe will try to locally source its construction and development purchases and hiring. A general contractor and architect have not yet been selected for the project—which will move into temporary quarters by June 2014. Construction on the casino resort hotel will start in the latter part of the year.
The Tribal Council just approved the new location for its second and final casino. The facility will be near the Aravaipa Campus of Central Arizona College.
The full project will have a casino, conference center, destination hotel, and performance venue, according to Murrey. He sees the entertainment center seating up to 1,000 people.
The tribe plans the casino at the southern extreme of the reservation—around 25 miles northeast of Oracle, putting it inside the Tucson gaming market. The tribe planned a second casino several years ago, but the effort was shelved because of the economic turndown.
The restart of the project in its new location is seen as a positive economic sign for the Tribe. The second casino plans were shelved during the recession—which hit the San Carlos Apache enterprise very hard. Moving forward is seen as a catalyst to improve economic conditions in the area of the reservation. The size of the project will benefit both the reservation and other Pinal County communities.