In less than a year’s time, Sonoma County will be home to the Bay Area’s largest casino, a prospect that has some people and businesses anticipating a significant economic boon to the region while others still vow to block a project in the making since 2003.

Backers of the massive $800 million Graton Resort and Casino project northwest of Rohnert Park include labor leaders and Las Vegas-based Station Casinos, which will manage the property for the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria.[poll id="67"] [poll id="68"]

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The tribe received approval to build the casino and hotel last May and began major construction in August. The project broke ground last June.

“This is an enormous undertaking that will be one of the signature projects of Sonoma County,” said Jeff Janakus, who is overseeing construction of the casino as vice president of design and construction for Station Casinos.

[caption id="attachment_73154" align="alignleft" width="220"] Hiring for the Rohnert Park casino would be greater than the 1,400 net jobs added in the past 12 months and equivalent to nearly one-10th of the county's total employment in that industry. (click to enlarge)[/caption]

The project calls for a 3,000-slot casino and 200-room hotel and will include a number of other amenities, including a resort and five-story parking structure.

Upon completion, the casino is expected to create some 2,000 permanent jobs.

Joe Hasson, vice president and general manager of the Graton Resort and Casino, said he expects the project to be completed by the end of 2013.

“We’re now really full speed ahead,” he said. The hotel portion of the project will be completed somewhat later than the casino, but Mr. Hasson said it was too soon to say exactly when. [read more at "RP casino expected to generate 2,000 jobs" and "Casino operator hires for full house upon opening"]