$120-million casino in Arizona still on track
The Yavapai Nation tribe has been working on the venue for almost a year
On June 29 last year, ground broke on a new casino resort in Arizona near Fort McDowell. The venue was the dream of the Yavapai Nation Indians and would replace the existing Fort McDowell Casino, with a new design and a larger casino floor. Now, almost a year later, the $120-million casino is moving forward as planned and should open according to schedule.
The tribe celebrated its progress yesterday by holding a “topping out” ceremony. The celebration brought together tribal and project leaders to the site of the new We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort to see the final structural beam put in place, as well as the last piece of concrete added to the venue’s parking facility.
Todd McMillen, the project director for the casino’s developer, Kitchell Construction, said at the ceremony, “This is a significant milestone. One that commemorates the ancient construction tradition of placing a fern tree or branch on the last and highest beam set on the building.”
There was talk of the new venue being erected as early as the mid-2000s, but continually faced delays. The issues forcing the delays were overcome, construction began and is progressing as expected. If all goes well, it will open by the summer of next year.
The president of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Bernadine Burnette, stated during the gathering, “It’s an exciting day for all of us. I didn’t think I would ever see this because I’m going on 24 years serving this tribe.”
When its doors open, the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort will offer a total of 244,000 square feet (sf) with a casino measuring 166,341 sf – 16,000 more than the casino at the former venue. There will be a garden court, specialty dining facilities, a four-story parking garage and a sports bar that offers an entertainment stage.