Tribe plans to build new casino near Prescott
The Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe plans to break ground this fall on a new casino on its reservation at the northeast corner of Highway 69 and the Yavpé Connector, opening it by the end of 2016.
Tribal General Manager Rich Marcum confirmed the plans Tuesday to The Daily Courier.
Tribal leaders planned to make the announcement at a press conference this coming Saturday, but a lessee at the tribe's Frontier Village Shopping Center beat them to it.
Zeke's Eatin' Place owners posted the tribe's press release about the casino on their Facebook page Sunday.
"Zeke's had no authority to post that, but the press release is true," Marcum said. "He's getting out ahead of us."
Marcum declined to answer any questions about the new casino until the press conference takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Granite Mountain Room of the tribe's Prescott Resort and Conference Center at the corner of highways 69 and 89.
The press conference is open to the public and tribal employees as well as the media.
The tribe already operates two casinos next to Prescott: Bucky's at its Prescott Resort and Conference Center on top of a hill overlooking the city, and Yavapai on the other side of Highway 69.
Bucky's has 309 slot machines, 11 poker tables and six blackjack tables, while Yavapai has 244 slots, according to Arizona Department of Gaming documents. The tribe started casino gaming in 1992.
The tribe's news release doesn't explain what will happen to the two existing casinos, except to say the new resort "will consolidate the operations of its two current facilities."
Under the state's tribal gaming compact, the Yavapai-Prescott Tribe has the rights to 566 slot machines and 90 card tables, said Jelena Momich, deputy public information officer for the Arizona Department of Gaming.
The new casino will be part of a "destination resort" featuring 50,000 square feet of casino space and 60-80 hotel rooms on 12 acres, the press release states. The existing Prescott Resort has 160 rooms.
The new casino resort also will feature restaurants, a central video bar, and flexible event space that will accommodate a variety of entertainment events, the news release states.
"The facility's 'destination' design is focused on bringing more excitement and value for current customers, as well as drawing in new customers from outside the region," the news release states.
The news release doesn't offer any more details about the new resort's design, but it does say the Leo A Daly architecture, engineering and interior design firm will be working on it.
The 99-year-old Leo A Daly is ranked as the 24th largest firm in the world by Arch Daily. Based in Omaha, Neb., one of its earliest projects was the Boys Town Master Plan there. More recent projects include a College of Arts and Sciences building on the Daytona Beach campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which also has a Prescott school; the China Mobile Beijing IT Park; and a Minnesota Fallen Firefighter Memorial.
The Yavapai College Regional Economic Development Center calculated that the new casino resort will have an $80 million economic impact on the Prescott region over the next 18 months, the news release states. That includes the direct and indirect benefits of the project cost as well as related increased spending in local economies.
The tribe opened its Yavpé Connector road about a year ago. It's the shortest connector between highways 89 and 69. The tribe also leveled a site below the Prescott Resort in 2006 for a cultural center and at one point announced it could be open by early 2014, but so far no construction has occurred there.
The tribe needs to submit an application to the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to build a new casino on the tribe's existing federal trust lands, to make sure it complies with the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, said Nedra Darling, public affairs officer for the BIA in Washington, D.C.
And the tribe must notify the Indian Gaming Regulatory Commission at least 120 days before opening the new casino, explained Eric Shepard, acting general counsel for the commission. The tribe will issue a gaming facility license to itself, and it already has the required gaming ordinance, he said.
The commission is involved with the states in making sure American Indian casinos follow the laws once they are open, Shepard said.
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