North Bay Business Journal

Monday, June 18, 2012, 2:59 pm

Construction begins on Rohnert Park casino hotel

Project still needs federal approval to fully proceed


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    ROHNERT PARK — The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria today announced construction has started on the tribe’s resort and casino project just west of Rohnert Park, although the tribe and casino backers are still waiting for formal federal approval on the controversial project.

    Grading on approximately 64 acres of the tribe’s 254-acre reservation is the first step in the construction of the resort and casino being developed near Rohnert Park, the tribe said in a statement.

    It “signals the start of the nearly 900 construction jobs that will be created by the tribe’s project,” according to the tribe.

    The site grading comes shortly after a public hearing with the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors last week, at which the tribe said it was confirmed by the county’s legal counsel that construction could begin before the finalization of a memorandum of understanding between the tribe and the county, according to the tribe.

    The casino, which would be the Bay Area’s largest with 3,000-slot machines and a 200-room hotel, must also meet federal approval from the Department of Interior, which has yet to issue a decision. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a tribal compact that approved the casino, but it still needs a final go-ahead from the federal government.

    Jeff Brax, an attorney with the office of County Counsel in Sonoma County, said what the office had found is that there is nothing in the state compact that precludes the tribe, or the casino’s financial backers, Station Casinos of Las Vegas, from beginning construction before the tribe and the county enter into negotiations, which will occur if or when the federal government signs off on the plans. 

    “The state compact doesn’t address construction,” Mr. Brax said.

    The compact instead addresses gaming approvals, he noted.

    “It’s on federal land, I don’t think the feds are inclined to stop them and doesn’t look like the state is either,” he said.

    The project has drawn vigorous opposition. Opponents contend construction of the large-scale casino will negatively impact the quality of life in and around Rohnert Park as well as impact traffic and raise environmental concerns.

    The tribe also announced it selected Sylmar-based Tutor Perini Building Corp. as general contractor for the project. Las Vegas-based KGA Architecture is designing the structure, and The Friedmutter Design Group, also of Las Vegas, the interior.

    Additional construction support will be provided by Tutor Perini’s sister company, Redwood City-based Rudolph and Sletten.

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    1. June 18, 2012, 4:54 pm

      by Marilee Montgomery

      [Editor's note: The author is presented as being affiliated with the Stop the Casino 101 Coalition.]

      Graton is in violation of its gambling compact. They are not permitted to commence the project until the intergovernmental agreements with the county and the city of Rohnert Park have been executed. There is no evidence that the county has executed this agreement. Section 11.8.7, (a) and (b).

      But when has this group ever told the truth?

    2. June 18, 2012, 6:25 pm

      by John

      What would possess them to use Tutor-Perini after what occurred on MGM project City Center with the lawsuits on that project and the issues surrounding the quality of the work? Not to mention, Tutor reputation breaking their subcontractors.

    3. June 19, 2012, 7:22 am

      by Steve Ferry

      Station always uses the same people.

    4. June 19, 2012, 2:24 pm

      by Smbat

      I am not an indian and I am not connected with the casino in any way. I am a small business owner here in Rohnert Park. I do not know anyone who is connected to the tribe or has anything to do with the Casino.

      Here is what I think!

      Dear Stop the Casino 101. Enough!! It’s been nine years Sonoma County is loosing hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue because of you and a like. Thousands of people are jobless because you find stupid excuses to delay this employer from creating work for us.

      People working at the casino will be spending their money in Sonoma County buying food, clothes, services etc. The Casino will be making money, and so other small and midsize businesses in Sonoma County. Thousands of visitors from all over Bay Area will be spending their money in this Casino. That money will come back to us, the locals.

      I own a small business here in Rohnert Park. You, pastor, have never used my services, but people working for that casino and visitors from other counties will be using my services. Not only the casino will be creating jobs, but business owner like myself will be creating even more jobs because of extra work we get from the casino.

      Is there a business that won’t be benefiting from this casino? well, besides other casinos…?

      How many people do you have who is with you? can you give us a number? 10? 100? 1 million? I don’t think so.. You and a group of people are the reason that thousands of people are jobless today in Sonoma County.

      Stop It! Stop using the name of people. You and your organization is less than one persent of Sonoma County’s population. In nine years you were not able to find one right excuse to completely stop this project and that’s why you are bouncing from one reason to the other just to delay all of us from having more work.

      You are surrounded by loosers, Show me someone in your organization that has EVER created a single job. Show me someone in your organization that has EVEr made a difference… No-one!! So Shut Up.

      Every one that I know of and have had a chance to speak about this casino are all positive and are waiting for it.

      Be ashamed!! Stop It!! You have not won any arguments against this casino because you are wrong!

    5. June 20, 2012, 1:01 pm

      by John

      Steve, Stations used Perini, they haven’t had the joy of the Tutor group. I suspect if Tutor does what they’ve done too many this casino will be Stations last project with them. Let’s not forget about the worker deaths since Tutor has taken the helm of Perini when they were renamed to Tutor-Perini. Google MGM City Center Lawsuits and Deaths, I feel for the employee’s who be working there and the ones who will be subcontracting on the project. The lawyers for all them and Graton will make nothing but money when their done dealing with Tutor.

    6. July 20, 2012, 2:30 am

      by James

      Listen to the small business owner. The man is making very good points.

      I am a 22 year old poker dealer who is currently not dealing. Working other jobs I do not make as much money as dealing therefore I do not spend as much money therefore less of my money and others money is circulation through the economy. I am just one perfect example of how he is right now take me and multiply that by thousands the casino is a good thing and should be brought in as soon as possible.

      Any opposition is miserable morons with nothing to do except complain and or idiotic environmentalists who have no idea who the 21st century works im sorry not all of us want to be omish and not use this age for what it is.

      Now whoever you are and if you’re reading this and you oppose the casino stop your closed minded views which are obviously bad for humanity and begin to open your eyes and enhance your tiny IQ to accept what good will come out of this casino WHICH IS COMING

    7. August 26, 2012, 11:00 pm

      by JM

      All of those people who are oppossing this project have 2 options.

      1. Stop wasting your time bitching about the process. or
      2. You all pony up the millions of $$$ this is going to bring into our area. but please, QUIT UR BITCHIN!

    8. November 17, 2012, 8:03 pm

      by John

      This construction is a travesty. The road access isn’t sufficient. Who is supposed to pay for the improvements needed? This has been shoved down the throats of the local residents and it’s just disgusting.

    9. April 6, 2013, 11:18 am

      by Gerald Bowen

      I spend 6-7 months a year in and around Sonoma County every year in our motor home I and a lot of other snow bunnies will be spending a lot more of our time and money in Rohnert Park because of the casino.

    10. August 29, 2013, 3:58 pm

      by chata martinez

      I love every single word you said & I also AGREE with everything you said …YOU Rock Smbat

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