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Pala Casino Spa & Resort breaks ground on $170 million expansion project

 

Last updated 10/19/2017 at Noon

Pala Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Smith uses an excavator to demolish the roof and awning of a 15-foot by 17-foot brick kiosk poolside at Pala Casino Spa & Resort to officially break ground on the resort’s $170 million expansion project Tuesday, Oct. 17. Kim Harris photo (Pala Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Smith uses a bulldozer to demolish the roof and awning of a 15-foot by 17-foot brick kiosk poolside at Pala Casino Spa & Resort to officially break ground on the resort’s $170 million expansion project Tuesday, Oct. 17. Kim Harris photo)

Kim Harris

Managing Editor

Dignitaries and hundreds of interested parties gathered at Pala Casino Spa & Resort early Tuesday, Oct. 17, for a ceremonial groundbreaking honoring the commencement of the resort’s $170 million expansion project that when completed will bring more than 200 new employment opportunities to Pala’s current team of 2,000 team members.

Pala Band of Mission Indians Chairman Robert Smith provided a keynote address at the groundbreaking ceremony.

Other speakers included Pala’s Chief Executive Officer Bill Bembenek, California’s 71st District Assemblyman Randy Voepel, California’s 80th District Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher and California’s 75th District Assemblywoman Marie Waldron.

Held near the Starlight Theater and outdoor pool area at the Resort, the event included Smith using an excavator to demolish the roof and awning of a 15-foot by 17-foot brick kiosk to officially break ground on the renovation and expansion project which will include the addition of a new, 349 room hotel tower, the construction of unique hotel suites which will overlook the Starlight Theater event lawn, and a new pool and entertainment complex.

Other amenities that will be brought to life as part of the expansion, which will be completed in two phases, will include the conversion of the existing resort pool into a multi-pool and entertainment resort complex; expanded gaming and casino bar space; a parking garage expansion; a completely remodeled restaurant promenade; a complete refresh of the entire casino interior and a complete refresh of the entire existing hotel tower.

In an interview immediately following the ceremony, Bembenek said that while he couldn’t give exact numbers on the economic effect the expansion would have on the area, increasing his staff by 200 people and adding 400 construction jobs over the next two years would be beneficial to the community as a whole. He said there would be an impact on the economy based on the resort’s use of local and regional suppliers and service providers, as well.

“We use a lot of outside service providers to help us maintain our hotel, window washers, linen services and more,” he explained. “Food and beverage is provided through businesses outside of Pala so there is going to be a regional impact as well.”

The first phase of the expansion, which will create 400 construction jobs, will be completed in spring of 2018. The final phase is expected to be completed in late 2019.

The groundbreaking was followed by food and refreshments at CAVE Lounge.

For more information about Pala Casino Spa & Resort, visit www.palacasino.com.

For more on this story, see next week’s issue of Village News.

 

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