By Chuck Taylor, the Alpine Sun
August 30, 2011 (Alpine)--Anthony Pico, Viejas Tribal Chairman announced plans yesterday for a new 150 room hotel to be erected adjoining the Casino. Although the final design has not been approved, an architectural rendering of the proposed hotel was presented to the media and business owners during a press conference at the Dream Catcher Lounge.
Swinerton Construction has been awarded the project and they have pledged to use local employees on the job. Construction and expansion is expected to add about 450 jobs and when the hotel is completed it will be staffed by around 45 employees.
The hotel, along with expansion to the east side of the Casino and Harvest Buffet, has a projected cost of $36 million. Chairman Pico said that the financing is in place and groundbreaking is scheduled for the first quarter of 2012 with completion expected in a year.
Chairman Pico told the press conference attendees that the new hotel property would include a pool, fitness center, business center, meeting space, a retail/gift shop and limited room service.
Scott Alevy, CEO of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce said that beyond local construction jobs, this new hotel will have a positive impact on local businesses that provide goods and services to Viejas.
“A project like this takes on added significance in a challenging economic environment, where every new job means so much to local families and the local economy,” said Alevy. “This is great news for our entire region.”
Joe Terzi, President and CEO of the San Diego Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, called the hotel a “great addition” for visitors to San Diego County.” He added, “The hotel’s location, right along I-8, is especially convenient for visitors coming from Arizona and points east.”
Viejas has a long, proud tradition of hospitality and welcoming visitors,”Chairman Pico said.”Our ancestors were the first to welcome Juan Cabrillo to the shores of Southern California in the 1500’s. We created one of the area’s first RV parks for campers and travelers and, of course, Viejas Casino and Outlet Center. So we are very proud to be adding this beautiful new hotel and once again welcoming visitors to this area of Southern California.”
During 2010, Viejas Tribal Government has committed time and money to the Casino Community Re-Investment program. These funds exceeded $19 million for the year and included over $ 2 million in contributions to local non-profit organizations.