In a recently recorded interview, Elk Grove City Council Member Darren Suen called the casino proposed by the Wilton Rancheria a "transformative element" in the city's development.
Suen's comments were made on the Haney Biz program heard on Sacramento's KSTE and Youtube. In the October 24 edition of the program, Suen was asked by host Mark Haney about that and other things underway in Elk Grove.
"We just talked to Chuckie (Wilton Rancheria Chairman Raymond "Chuckie" Hitchcock), and he's got approvals to build that massive casino resort out there in Elk Grove," Haney said. "How is something like that gonna affect the trajectory of Elk Grove."
Responding to the question, Suen said "Oh, that's directly upward Mark. It is a transformative element."
Suen went on to say that once the casino gets built, it will help get the Howard Hughes Company's unfinished Outlet Collection at Elk Grove completed and occupied. A victim of the Great Recession, that shopping center has sat unfinished for over eight years, and earlier this year HHC sold a portion of their parcel to the Wilton Rancheria for development of the proposed casino.
"So imagine all the foot traffic that goes there, and then you're going get to go shopping and dine at the mall as well," Suen said.
Also appearing with Suen on the program was Innogrove co-founder and general manager Steve Barnett who said the casino is going to be great for small businesses in Elk Grove. Innogrove offers co-working space and is located in Elk Grove.
When asked by Haney about the City of Elk Grove's support of Innogrove's mission, Suen said the city has a multi-prong approach to business.
"We are investing in these startup companies, tech companies, and others that are coming out of their garages," Suen said. "Under Armor got started in their garage, right."
He added, "We know we have a lot of talent in Elk Grove, as Steve mentioned we [the city] were an early investor in Innogrove."
Suen also revealed the City is developing a new program to provide small businesses with seed money.
"We have another program that hasn't been fully vetted yet, but it will be a loan finance program," Suen said. "We will be able to forgive for start-up seed capital money."
Suen also noted the city is targeting biomedical and research and development companies in the Bay Area based on the privately-owned California North State Medical School. He also said the City participated in the recent regional proposal to lure Amazon to the area.
Also, Suen discussed the proposed multi-modal station in context of the City's location relative to Silicon Valley. That facility, which is being considered for the southwest portion of the city would connect Elk Grove to the Altamont Corridor Express (ACE) commuter train line that connects riders in the San Joaquin Valley to jobs in Silicon Valley.
"If I can get you to Silicon Valley, in 90 minutes, right, then you can work on the train and get to work," he said. "Now we are starting to connect with what we call the mega-region for the jobs. We know we got the affordable housing, but they got most of the jobs, so how do we connect with those two together."