Sacramento Business Journal
More than 300 people attended a Wednesday meeting to learn about a planned casino resort that could become the third-largest employer in Elk Grove.
The Wilton Rancheria tribe introduced itself and its newest casino resort plans to Elk Grove during a meeting the tribe hosted at a local community center.
The tribe showed new renderings of the casino and its 12-story hotel tower, which now features more glass and a modern look, compared to what the tribe had proposed for Galt. The tribe is presenting the casino as a complementary use and a catalyst for a long-dormant mall on the south side of the city.
The crowd filled one of the largest rooms at The Falls Event Center in Elk Grove to hear the presentation and ask questions. Questions from the audience included concerns about crime and concerns about declines in housing values near the casino.
The Elk Grove City Council will also hold a discussion of the tribe's plans at its meeting July 13, said Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis, who attended the meeting. Davis said he realizes Elk Grove residents are excited about the resort's economic impacts and also anxious about potential impacts.
Davis also said the tribe, which is a sovereign domestic nation, has the right to develop the site. He said the city has not yet taken a position on the project.
Tribal Chairman Raymond Hitchcock said the casino and related development could spur development at the long-dormant "Stonehenge" of a lifestyle mall that was largely completed but never opened. He said the project will be a high-end development that would become a destination in Elk Grove, attracting customers from the Sacramento Valley and the East Bay.
Work halted on what used to be called the Elk Grove Promenade project in 2008, leaving a series of large empty buildings.
The Wilton Rancheria announced in June that it wants to develop a $400 million to $500 million casino, hotel and convention center project on 35.9 acres in what is now called The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, now owned by The Howard Hughes Corp.
The tribe for several years had been working on a casino resort north of Galt, and plans for that hotel tower featured less glass and more earth tones.
The casino will include 110,260 square feet of slot machines and table games and a 12-story hotel with 302 rooms. It also would include a spa, fitness center, and one of the region’s largest convention centers at 50,000 square feet, which could be configured for 3,200 people for concerts, 1,200 people for banquets and 2,500 people for indoor sports events, such as mixed martial arts.
The gaming floor will have 2,000 slot machines and table games. Several residents asked if the tribe could develop the resort without the gaming element. Hitchcock said the project cannot be financed without the gaming floor. The casino would likely take two years to build, creating 1,600 construction jobs, and then employ about 1,750 when it opened, making it the third-largest employer in the city behind the local school district and Apple Inc.
The Outlet Collection at Elk Grove, visible from Highway 99 on the southeastern edge of the city near Kammerer Road, was partially built by a previous developer before the financial crisis of 2008 halted progress. Since then, the complex has remained vacant and unfinished.
After the tribe exercises its option to buy the 35.9 acres in the mall, the federal government would put it into trust, in essence making it tribal sovereign land and eligible to host gaming. Once the tribe has land put into trust, it would then negotiate a compact with California's governor.
Hitchcock said the Wilton Resort name is a placeholder, and it would likely end up with a new name.