Once completed, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will be the newest addition to the Yuba County Sports and Entertaining Zone along Forty Mile Road, but its presence – even during construction – is already spurring economic development interest in the area, officials say.
“We are definitely seeing an increase in interest in terms of development in that area. The casino is driving that interest. Developers know it’s going to attract potential traffic and customers to the area,” said Kevin Mallen, director of the Yuba County Community Development and Services Agency.
Members of the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria are partnering with Hard Rock International on the project – said to now be called “Hard Rock Fire Mountain Casino and Hotel.”
The roughly 320,000-square-foot project will include a casino, buffet, gourmet restaurant, bar, banquet and meeting facilities, an area for guest support (lobby, gift shop and valet) and an eight-story hotel tower with 152 rooms including 18 suites, according to the Environmental Impact Statement prepared by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. It would also include an estimated 2,750 parking spaces – though estimates are based on design plans and are subject to change.
Charlie Altekruse, a spokesperson for Enterprise Rancheria, said construction is moving forward. The tribe estimates the work will be completed within 15 months.
The casino and hotel, once open, is expected to generate nearly $281 million a year in economic activity and benefits for the region, as well as nearly $86 million over 20 years in local memorandum of understanding community and public funding, according to the tribe’s website.
The 40-acre parcel of land where the casino and hotel are being built is located within a 900-acre Yuba County Sports and Entertainment Zone. The only other development in that area is the Toyota Amphitheatre, but the entire zone is poised for growth. Yuba County Entertainment LLC is the primary owner of the land within the zoning.
Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation President and Chief Operating Officer Brynda Stranix said she believes the private landowner is currently working on a master plan for the area. A master plan, she said, would have specific designations for potential projects within the Sports and Entertainment Zone – in other words, once it’s completed, it will be used to attract certain companies that would fit into the overall objective.
Stranix also said the fact that the county is getting a new casino and hotel has already spurred interest.
“We are referring them to Yuba County Entertainment LLC, so they are building a database for interest opportunities,” she said.
Having the casino also raises the possibility of bringing in Economic Development Administration funding, she said. The infrastructure grants could potentially be used to help bring wastewater services to the area, which is something the area is currently lacking.
“Another cool thing on the development side is directly across Highway 65 from the casino, there has been interest from property owners for development opportunities,” Stranix said. That piece of land, or strip, is zoned commercial-industrial. It gives the region more properties that are available, whether for sale or lease, so it can help make it more competitive when seeking requests for proposals for sites. It’s just a great new tool in our economic development toolbox.”
The zoning was established in early 1998 after county voters approved Measure R, which rezoned about 1,000 acres at Highway 65 and Forty Mile Road into the Sports and Entertainment Zone, according to Appeal-Democrat archives.