In southern California, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians has reportedly announced that it has begun an environmental review of a recent expansion proposal for its Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa facility.

According to a report from The Desert Sun newspaper, the federally-recognized tribe revealed that it is to study the impact and viability of a plan that would see the Riverside County property add some 310 new hotel rooms as well as a further 58,000 sq ft of gaming space.

In addition, the expansion scheme for the 16-year-old venue located some 112 miles east of downtown Los Angeles reportedly calls for around 41,000 sq ft of meeting space to be added alongside about 25,000 sq ft for food and retail, while an adjacent commercial area would be expanded by approximately 120,000 sq ft.

Jeff Grubbe, Chairman for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, reportedly told the newspaper that there are ‘a lot of decisions to make’ regarding the proposed expansion but that his tribe is optimistic about the future of the venue near the city of Rancho Mirage as tourists ‘travel from around the globe to visit the Coachella Valley’.

“We offer the finest in casino resort-style entertainment right here in Rancho Mirage and we are exploring several opportunities on how to expand this luxury destination experience,” Grubbe reportedly told The Desert Sun.

It has reportedly been a busy ten months for the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians as April saw it unveil a plan to build a ‘mixed-use entertainment and gaming district’ on a vacant 12.5-acre site in the center of nearby Cathedral City. This was followed in October by the California tribe announcing that it intends to add 88,000 sq ft of spa and gallery space to its existing Agua Caliente Cultural Museum in the city of Palm Springs.

The Desert Sun reported that all of this growth was initiated after the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians inked a new gaming compact with the state in August of 2016 that gave it permission to open up to four additional venues offering a maximum of 5,000 gaming devices such as slots and skill-based video poker machines. The tribe is also responsible for the Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs and the revised deal purportedly moreover allows it to run off-reservation gambling facilities in the cities of Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage and Cathedral City as well as on unincorporated Riverside County land lying between the squares of its checker-board-shaped preserve.

“The Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa is a tremendous asset to our valley,” Sean Smith, Economic Development Director for Rancho Mirage, reportedly told the newspaper. “An expansion of the current facility is an exciting proposition that we look forward to learning more about as plans materialize.”

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