After years of legal wrangling and a costly lawsuit settlement with the state of Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise (TOGE) recently broke ground on the long-awaited permanent home for its Desert Diamond West Valley Resort and Casino.

Located at 95th and Northern avenues in Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District, the new full-scale facility’s 75,000 square foot casino floor will feature Class III slot machines, live bingo, blackjack, poker and five restaurants. The $400 million expansion project should be complete in 2019, according to reports.

Hunt/Penta Joint Venture is heading the construction project and also serves as the general contractor for the development which will reportedly see more than 1,500 construction jobs created.

Upon completion, the Las Vegas-style casino will employ about 1,600 people. The finished product will complement the vibrant entertainment and sports attractions of the region, including Peoria’s P83 Entertainment District and Glendale’s Westgate Entertainment District.

The major casino project was first announced by the Tohono O’odham Nation on Jan. 29, 2009. Having faced years of court challenges and multiple attempts to circumvent federal legislation to freeze the project, the Arizona tribe opened the venue on December 20, 2015, having been only approved to serve non-alcoholic beverages and offer Class II gaming.

However, in July this year, the U.S. Department of Interior gave final approval to changes in the Tohono O’odham Nation’s gaming compact with the state which cleared the way for Class III gambling. And less than a month later, the liquor license was approved by the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control for the Desert Diamond West Valley Resort and Casino.

Nearly 600 people are employed by the interim casino, which will reportedly maintain operations during construction. Upon completion and opening of the full-scale casino, it will transition to warehouse use.

The Peoria Times reports that the Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman, Edward Manuel, said, “This facility will provide jobs and economic opportunity for members of the Tohono O’odham Nation, the West Valley, and Arizona. The Nation is proud of the partnerships we have forged in the region, which will only strengthen and grow as we move forward.”

While CEO for the Tohono O’odham Gaming Enterprise, Andy Asselin, said, “This is a day our guests and employees have been looking forward to for a long time. We’ve put together a terrific construction team that will be developing a unique attraction for the entire West Valley. We’re eager to get started.”

Also reportedly being planned by TOGE once the permanent facility is complete are future phases of construction which include hotel, spa and other resort amenities.

Upon full build-out, the casino and resort will occupy upwards of 1 million square feet and see the creation of 3,000-plus jobs.

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