As Kenneth Manuel, Jr., CEO of Gila River Hotels & Casinos, previously told Native Business: He’s a big proponent of investing and reinvesting in the business, as well as the team. Pictured: Gila River lobby (Courtesy Gila River Hotels & Casinos)
While casinos worldwide have focused on weathering covid-19, many are leveraging market growth tactics to attract players and maximize profits now and on the other side of the pandemic.
Take Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass for instance. The gaming enterprise is looking toward the future. It recently broke ground on a $143 million expansion project in Chandler, Arizona, a move that aligns with the enterprise’s rapid growth in Arizona.
Scheduled to open in fall 2021, an 11-story hotel tower will be added to Wild Horse Pass and connect to its existing hotel. The 150-foot tower will feature 205 guestrooms, for a total of 447 guestrooms on the property. Other highlights include rooftop dining with spectacular views, two pools, a new lounge and additional meeting space.
In partnership with Sundt Construction, Inc., TynanGroup and Friedmutter Group, this is the first expansion project for Gila River’s Wild Horse Pass property since it opened in 2009. The 26-year old enterprise, which is owned by the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC), also operates Lone Butte in Chandler and Vee Quiva in Laveen.
“This expansion is a major investment in the Gila River Indian Community and symbolic of a new chapter in our history,” said Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel. “It reflects our commitment to be a leader in the gaming and hospitality industry through enhanced experiences and amenities, and we look forward to seeing the continued representation of our community’s culture in the expansion project.”
Sundt Construction’s Project Executive Mike Nunn said he and his team are excited to be working with Gila River Hotels & Casinos.
“Our team is inspired to build the Wild Horse Pass expansion and working with Gila River Indian Community reminds us of our passion of quality, integrity and community support,” said Nunn. “When completed, the expansion will continue to provide a long lasting and positive impact to the Community, and Sundt is honored to be an integral part of the project team.”
The project management firm of the expansion, TynanGroup, has managed the construction of hotel and casino projects for the Gila River Indian Community dating back to 1999 and was also involved with the initial construction of Gila River Hotels & Casinos – Wild Horse Pass.
Las Vegas based Friedmutter Group, which is known for its iconic hotel and casino designs, is the project architect and has worked with the Gila River Indian Community for the past ten years on renovation and expansion projects for all of its existing casinos and hotel properties.
Expansion Centers Around New Tower
At the center of the Wild Horse Pass expansion project is the new 11-story hotel tower. The new 205 guestrooms will include 103 rooms with king beds, 63 rooms with two queen beds, six poolside suites and 27 tower suites. In addition, the new tower will have four Gold Suites and two 1,500-square-foot Platinum Suites with king beds, dining rooms, and a balcony with views of the Estrella mountains.
In addition to the existing 12,000-square-feet of conference space at Wild Horse Pass, the expansion will feature an additional 18,000-square-feet of indoor meeting space and 4,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space.
On the second floor of the new tower, an intimate bar and lounge will offer specialty cocktails and serve as a perfect setting to meet a colleague or enjoy a peaceful nightcap. Located on the hotel’s eleventh floor will be a rooftop dining option, which will provide guests with spectacular mountain and sunset views.
The expansion project will also feature new amenities at Wild Horse Pass, including an oversized oasis pool area for guests to soak in the sun. The pool area will feature two hot tubs, full-service cabanas and access to the Bar & Grill which will offer a full-service menu year-round. For those 21 years or older and looking for a relaxing place to unwind poolside, the new adult pool is the perfect spot. This pool provides direct access from six select suites.
The expansion will be adorned with custom artwork from 17 different artists who reside in the Gila River Indian Community. From paintings to photographs, the art will reflect the culture of Arizona and the Gila River Indian Community.
The casino floor will be revamped with new carpeting, color palette, lighting fixtures and a LED screen overhanging the floor stretching 80 feet wide and 12 feet tall.