The venue will be open by spring ◆ By Mike Hiles
As the Soboba Casino Resort nears completion, a select few community members toured the facility on Dec. 21 and were thoroughly fascinated with what they saw.
“This is more than I was expecting – it’s fantastic,” Riverside County Sheriff-Elect Chad Bianco said.
“This will be a sweet dream come true to the San Jacinto Valley, too, as it is creating hundreds, perhaps even thousands of jobs,” said Lakshman Koka, chairman of the Hemet San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce.
Soboba Tribal Council Chairman Scott Cozart and Vice Chairman Isaiah Vivanco plus Tribal Administrator Michael Castello and Soboba Casino’s Assistant General Manager Jason Cozart hosted the tour with Vice Chairman Vivanco guiding the group through every detail of what’s to come.
A rich decorative finish was used to accent custom textures and surfaces present throughout the facility.
“These custom moldings have been beautifully constructed to highlight all the real wood features that are evident on the walls and other areas around the replacement casino,” Vivanco said. “The craftsmen that did this are real artists." Bianco said he is very excited for the Tribe and the surrounding communities to have this project so near completion.
“To see the pride on Isaiah’s face when he was explaining things was just awesome,” he said.
Another design feature that was pointed out to visitors was the fact the now-carpeted casino floor is elevated above air exchangers with vents to the casino floor that allows for outside air to come into the facility. Every 10 minutes the air handlers will complete a cycle of replacing the air within the room with fresh air.
Some of the most popular features among the group were the hotel’s four-bay suites of approximately 1,800 square feet with their exquisite layouts, great color combinations and spectacular views from the top floor.
“Nowhere else but here will visitors be able to find such luxurious accommodations offering stunning panoramic views of the Valley,” Vivanco said.
Tom Groenendal, Senior Superintendent for the project’s general contractors C.W. Driver, said all the asphalt for parking is complete and the exterior lights have been installed. Most of the interior signage has been added and items are being delivered daily.
“We are down to the FFEs: furniture, fixtures and equipment,” Groenendal said. “They did a good job with products and accessories being used in the hotel rooms. Everything is coming out like it’s supposed to and we are just in the process of finishing the details.”
Roadway improvements continue around the perimeter of the project as entrances are being created from Lake Park Drive and Soboba Road.
“This is going to be such a positive boom to our valley,” Koka said. “The entire community is ready to embrace the blessings that the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians are bringing to our valley.”
Vivanco explained that the casino resort’s 15,000-square foot events center can be configured into up to four separate spaces capable of hosting any kind of event large or small, intimate or grand. It can accommodate 1,400 guests seated at tables and up to 2,100 people if set up for a concert. With separate entrances and a designated registration area it will become a popular location for many different public and private events.
“The very first use of this special space will be for our tribal members as they gather for a private opening dedication celebration,” Vivanco said.
The tribe is scheduled to take over the building in late January with the new Soboba Casino Resort on track to be open for business around the third week of February.
For more information, please visit www.soboba-nsn.gov