Topping ceremony for new Soboba casino, hotel near San Jacinto

After breaking ground on a new casino and hotel in southern California on February 28, 2017, the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians held a “topping” ceremony on Dec. 11 where three white beams were signed by members of the tribe, casino workers and constructions workers and then hoisted to the top of the six-story hotel’s frame.

It’s all part of the new 729,000 square foot Soboba Casino and Resort being built on the tribe’s reservation near San Jacinto to replace the existing Soboba Casino, which for the past 21 years, has been housed in a big tent.

The Press Enterprise reports that Michael Castello, Soboba Tribal Administrator, said that the topping ceremony was “one of the significant milestones of the whole construction project.” Castello added, “We’re trying to landmark all of these special milestones. It’s special to be able to have the tribal members sign their names on something that will be up for decades.”

The new casino and hotel complex is on Soboba Road, about one mile west of the existing casino and will cover 37.5 acres on reservation land. Phase one of the development will cover some 450,000 square feet and will include a 140,000 square foot casino, along with a 200-room hotel, sports bar, conference space, restaurants, an 8,300 square foot swimming pool and both ground and garage parking, according to the news agency.

Castello reportedly said that the construction crew is working six days out of seven having set a goal for the new venue to open by Christmas next year, reports The Press Enterprise.

The Soboba venue isn’t the only tribal casino in the region that is expanding. Three other California tribes are also either in the midst of major expansions or have projects planned.

Near Temecula, the Pechanga Resort & Casino will soon unveil its new $285 million expansion which includes the addition of a 14-story tower that will provide 568 more rooms, more than double the resort’s accommodations to 1,090, along with a pool complex, new event center and more restaurants.

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Last month, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians announced plans of their own to build a 500-room hotel, 2,200-stall parking structure and a 4,000-seat entertainment venue on property located adjacent to their casino near Highland. According to reports, construction could begin next year, with a completion date sometime in 2020.

Meanwhile, after having completed its brand new $6.1 million 10-acre RV Resort in May last year, the Pala Casino Spa & Resort in Northern San Diego County broke ground in October 2017 on a $170 million expansion that will see the existing hotel tower remodeled completely and the addition of a new 349-room hotel tower bringing the total to 854 rooms and suites. The casino and many of the restaurants will be expanded and updated, along with the addition of a 21 and over pool complex, outdoor bar, enlarged spa and par 7BALL king garage.