San Manuel reaches construction milestone on hotel expansion

Rene Ray De La Cruz

| Victorville Daily Press

Leaders with the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians joined tribal citizens recently to sign a steel construction beam that now sits atop the San Manuel Casino‘s resort expansion project in the foothills of Highland.

The Nov. 6 “Topping Out Ceremony” celebrated placement of the final beam on the 17th floor of the project that broke ground in July 2018.

The $550 million expansion by Penta Construction will add to the venue’s current offerings of slots, Vegas-style blackjack, high-limit gaming, entertainment and dining.

During the event, Ken Ramirez, chairman of San Manuel, shared his thoughts on the project that is expected to add more than 2,000 employees to its current roster of 4,500.

“This endeavor advances the continued development of our tribal government and economy, and as importantly, creates permanent jobs and opportunities for the region —which is our home,” he said in a statement.

Ramirez, who was elected in April after having served five terms as tribal secretary, said, “Today we take an important step toward these goals, and recognize the hard work of our team who is helping us get there. We look forward to sharing our Tribe’s vision of hospitality with our guests in this new expansion.”

The first phase of the expansion includes additional gaming space, a 24-hour restaurant, high-end dining venue and three new retail shops. All are scheduled to open in the summer of 2021.

Phase two includes San Manuel’s first on-site hotel, which features 429 rooms and suites, a full-service spa and a pool deck with bar and private cabanas. The hotel’s construction is slated for completion by the winter of 2021.

The final phase focuses on San Manuel’s entertainment and events venue, which is expected sometime in 2022.

In November 2019, the resort completed construction of a new parking garage that now accommodates 2,400 vehicles.

San Manuel spokesperson Jenna Brady told the Daily Press on Friday that the expansion project was originally scheduled for an earlier completion date.

The COVID-19 pandemic hampered the casino‘s operation and revenue stream, however, and the tribe opted to “slow down” the construction process, Brady said.

“Because of the pandemic, the casino was closed from mid-March to mid-June,” Brady said. “Unfortunately, we had to lay off many employees during that time.”

Since then, the casino has reopened and San Manuel has hired 200 health screeners or guest safety concierges who ensure that health and safety protocols are being followed, Brady said.

The resort is currently hiring for 200 to 500 positions, she said.

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz may be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz.

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