The Wilton Rancheria tribe announced that it will recommend that a 35.9-acre parcel in the city of Elk Grove, California be taken into trust as an alternative to the 282-acre site located in the small Sacramento County City of Galt where it had previously planned to break ground on for its casino resort.

According to a June 9 press release, more than $30 million in infrastructure costs “presented an insurmountable economic challenge,” said Raymond C. Hitchcock, the tribe’s chairman. Three potential sites were identified in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) released by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in December, one near Galt, one on the tribe’s rancheria in Wilton, and one in Elk Grove.

The land in Elk Grove is owned by the Howard Hughes Corporation, which is currently in the process of building The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, a retail outlet with restaurants and entertainment, on the parcel next to the casino site. An option agreement to purchase the land has been signed by the Wilton Rancheria but it has yet to purchase the land. Grant Herlitz, the president of the Howard Hughes Corporation, said “We are pleased to have an agreement in place with the Wilton Rancheria that gives the Tribe a path forward with their plans for a resort and casino,” and, “It should serve as an ideal complement to The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove,” according to the release.

The tribe’s chairman estimates the cost of the casino will be in excess of $400 million and include a 12-story resort with 302 rooms, 2,000 gaming machines and 30,000 square feet of event space. The construction timeline is estimated at 12 to 18 months and the tribe estimates that during that time 2,000 jobs will be created, with 2,000 full-time jobs created upon completion of the facility. Hitchcock said that the casino will be mutually beneficial to the tribes more than 700 members as well as Sacramento County.

Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis said, “We look forward to working with Wilton Rancheria and engaging the community around this project.”

A town hall meeting will be held in the city of Elk Grove by the tribe and at that time it will present its plans and respond to concerns and questions from the community.

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