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Council members look at the view from the 15th floor, the future lounge balcony at the Casino Arizona Resort. Photo by Richie Corrales

SRPMIC Staff Tour Talking Stick Resort

By Richie Corrales
Au-Authm Action News

A little over three years ago, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community broke ground on the first phase of construction for the new Talking Stick Resort, which included the enclosed parking garage. The 15-story resort/gaming facility is set to open its doors April 2010.

The Talking Stick Resort is located off the Loop 101 Freeway on Indian Bend Road, close to the Talking Stick Golf Club and the new Arizona Diamondbacks/Colorado Rockies spring training facility. It features a hotel with standard rooms and luxury suites, more than 100,000 square feet of meeting/event space, and 240,000 square feet of gaming.

The SRPMIC Council and administrative staff were treated to a tour of the resort on January 29 to get a firsthand look at the facility.

Council members were greeted by members of the Salt River gaming board, Casino Arizona employees and staff from Chanen Construction Company. After brief introductions, everyone put on safety vests, hard hats and goggles before entering the construction site.

Although it was somewhat difficult to envision the final layout in certain areas of the resort because things weren’t yet in place, such as furniture, carpet and color schemes, tour participants could refer to renderings of what the areas would look like once they were completed.

Casino Arizona CEO Jon Jenkins took the group to see the resort’s employee areas and the employee dining room, which is set up like a buffet-style restaurant and patio.

Then it was off to the gaming floor. The first area the group toured was the card room, which will feature games such as Texas Hold ’em poker and blackjack. When the casino is complete, there also will be 860 slot machines as well as keno and off-track betting.

Leading into the gaming floor is the atrium, which brings in light from the outside and frames views of the golf course and mountains. This is where the indoor and outdoor dining areas and several meeting rooms are located as well. The east wing will house the conference center, hotel lobby and Native American cultural displays.

On the 15th floor, where the rooftop restaurants and lounges are located, Council members were greeted by a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains, neighboring cities and the future spring training facility. They were able to see where the swimming pools would be located and look down at Talking Stick Golf Course.

“This is the place to be during the evening to watch the sunset,” said Jenkins.
The tour, which took about two hours, also featured standard hotel rooms and luxury suites of different sizes.

There is still a lot of work remaining, but according to Chanen Construction Co. representatives, there are 40 to 50 workers on each floor daily working hard to get the job done. Jenkins said that the resort is currently accepting room and meeting/convention reservations beginning May 1.

For more information about Talking Stick Resort, go to www.casinoarizona.com.

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