The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians celebrated the installation of the final steel beam for San Manuel Casino’s 17-floor resort expansion with a topping off ceremony on Friday, Nov. 6.
The celebration marked the construction reaching its full height just over 27 months after breaking ground on July 25, 2018.
The ceremony had limited attendance, mainly tribal members and project partners, due to social distancing and other coronavirus safety protocols.
Several tribal leaders, including Tribal Chairman Ken Ramirez and Assemblyman James Ramos (a past tribal chairman), spoke of the resort as symbol honoring the resilience of their people and a signal of the tribe’s success following many hardships just a few generations ago.
San Manuel Business Committee Member Johnny Hernandez spoke of the resort as an expansion of opportunities for the tribe’s futures.
"Less than two generations have passed since our reservation has experienced hardships," said San Manuel Treasurer Latisha Casas. "The vision for this project is build resources enabling our government to build roads, educate our young and help care for those in need ⎯ things that all responsible businesses do.
“Every generation should make it better for the next. The diversification and expansion of our economy through this epic expansion is our contribution to the future,” Hernandez said. “This is the path our ancestors set us on and it up to us to take it and make new opportunities to push our people forward and upward. It is all an opportunity for our young people to engage our business, to find a calling and career, a place to develop their passions. To find lasting success we need to develop talent right here on the reservation. The experiences this expansion will offer in hotel management culinary arts and entertainment is a chance to find that talent among our own people.”
“As we look toward the future the lights are bright, the sky’s the limit,” Ramirez added. “As long as we continue to remain who we are as a tribe as a family we will always sustain a future.”
Before raising the top beam, signed by tribal members, the project leaders spoke of the challenges the project faced during the coronavirus pandemic.
Due to some of those challenges the construction schedule has been updated to complete the expansion in three phases.
Phase one ⎯ the opening of the casino’s expanded gaming facilities, dining venues and retail shops ⎯ is scheduled to open in summer of 2021.
The opening of the hotel, featuring 429 luxury rooms and suites, as well as a full service spa and pool deck and additional food services, is schedule to open as phase two in the winter of 2021.
The third and final phase will be the opening of a 4,000-seat live entertainment venue in 2022.
San Manuel, already one of the top-10 private employers in San Bernardino County, expects the expansion to add more than 2,000 new jobs.
Ramirez pointed out that unlike many other tribes San Manuel started small when entering gaming and entertainment business, choosing continued and sustainable growth. San Manuel opened its first bingo hall on the reservation in 1986 and opened the casino in 2005.