Tag Archives: casino

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RED AWARDS 2014: Best Hospitality Project

On Feb. 26, AZRE hosted the 9th Annual RED Awards reception at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix to recognize the most notable commercial real estate projects of 2013 and the construction teams involved. AZRE held an open call for nominations and more than 100 projects were submitted by architects, contractors, developers and brokerage firms in Arizona. Click here to view all 2014 RED Awards Winners.‎


Vee Quiva Hotel & Casino
Developer: Gila River Indian Community
Contractor: Tutor Perini Building Corp.
Architect: Friedmutter Group
Project Manager: Parsons-Tynan Group
Size: 760,000 SF
Completed: July 2013

vee-quivaVee Quiva Hotel & Casino is a goliath in the desert, bringing a Las Vegas quality casino and hotel to Arizona. The property is energy efficient, with lighting systems that are programmed to detect movement and adjust accordingly. The floors ventilate clean air into the casino, keeping the air fresh without using excessive amounts of energy. The casino used local concrete and aggregate products, and native plants were used for the landscaping in order to reduce water usage on the property. The biggest energy efficient feature in the new casino is the environmentally friendly electrical, plumbing and mechanical system on-site. The water is chilled and heated with energy efficient units that supply the casino and hotel with water.

Twin Arrows Wins at G2E

Twin Arrows Named 'Best Native American Casino' at G2E Conference

The Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s (NNGE) Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, located 20 minutes east of Flagstaff, Ariz., was recognized as the top Native American Casino Facility in the nation at this week’s G2E (Global Gaming Expo) Conference. The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, which designed the structure in collaboration rsz_twin_arrows_2011-04-20_birds_eye_renderingwith Navajo tribal members, and JBA Consulting Engineers, which led the active systems engineering, submitted an entry for the stunning 267,000-square-foot facility that showcases Navajo culture and original artworks throughout the property.

“We are grateful to The Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas and JBA Consulting Engineers for their ability to culturally infuse Navajo into the building by incorporating the vision of our team in the exterior and interior designs, décor and engineering,” states Derrick Watchman, NNGE CEO. “We are proud to be recognized as the number one Native American Casino Facility in the Nation and congratulate The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and our employees for this prestigious recognition.”

He added, “We would also like to thank our culture committee that worked tirelessly to ensure Navajo traditions and culture were accurately and appropriately showcased.”

Best Native American Casino Facility in Design and Engineering

G2E’s Casino Design Awards – the preeminent design awards program for the gaming industry – recognize excellence in architecture, design, engineering and construction. Each entry was judged on its own merits by a panel of five distinguished individuals selected for professional expertise in design, planning and construction. All licensed Architectural Firms, Design Companies and Construction Companies were eligible to enter.

Judges evaluated The Friedmutter Group, JBA Consulting Engineers and Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort on the following criteria:

•    Unique and original thinking
•    Compatibility and harmony of the project to its environment
•    Consideration of geographic and climatic conditions
•    Use of appropriate or innovative building forms and materials
•    Inclusion of meticulous and inventive detailing
•    Striving for special and unique design solutions to the positioning aimed at and the success achieved

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort was recognized as the top Native America Casino Facility for both for its design and engineering.

“We are enormously honored to be recognized with this prestigious award and gratefully thank the Navajo Nation, who hired us for the project,” said Friedmutter Group founder and CEO Brad Friedmutter. “The success of this project is a direct reflection of the great teamwork and cooperation of the entire team starting with the leadership of Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. We worked very closely with the owners and SICON, the owner’s representative, to translate their vision into an overall design that celebrates their rich Navajo Culture throughout the property and are so proud to be part of this winning team.”

Jim Gist, chief sales and marketing officer for JBA Consulting Engineers added, “While we have worked on projects across the globe, this team and the opportunity to create something truly unique in the Native America Gaming space was an honor for our entire firm.”

Culturally Infused Building and Design

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort’s five-story hotel with 90 rooms, 16,000 square foot conference center, heated-indoor swimming pool, fitness center and casino floor with rotunda, food court, steakhouse, seafood bar, sports bar, 24-hour café, gift shop and coffee shop were completed in May 2013. 400 Navajo construction workers were employed on the project that began September 2011.

Exterior:
The main drive and porte corchere are expressed architecturally as the upward movement of ancestors through the Four Worlds.
A water feature at the entrance symbolizes the rising waters that motivated the people to move up and seek new worlds to live in.
The hotel tower features a dimensional over-scaled weave pattern, suggesting the work of hands and hearts; the weaving of baskets, textiles, and song.
The texture and lines sweeping over the façade of the lower casino buildings relates to the winds sweeping across the Nation bringing life to the Dine.
A cascading glass entry to the south of the casino façade recalls the Grand Falls of the Little Colorado River.

Entrance:
At the main entrance of the casino guests enter through a black textured stone vestibule, a contemporary abstraction of the First World.
The entrance also contains stone soffits that depict the 1st World of the Insect people, the 2nd World of Bluebirds and Swallow people, the 3rd World of the Grasshoppers, and the 4th World where Man and Woman came to be.
A custom chandelier in the rotunda depicts the vertical rise of the people through each world. Hand blown glass rings represent the colors of each world. Droplets of crystal cascade through the rings like water two chrome tubes in the center of the rings symbolize the reeds that were used to enter through the hard sky of the world.
The rotunda floor mirrors the chandelier in an infinity circle reflection.

Casino:
The casino’s theme is “The Glittering World”.
Its ceiling depicts a Navajo night sky and the Milky Way with custom decorative chandeliers.
At the center of the casino an area is surrounded by a custom silver and bronze metal chain drapery. The metal drapery creates an oval with grass and reed designs.
Crystal lanterns surround the outer layers, and inside a reflective chandelier with independent rays of light form a central ceiling feature.
Additional detail throughout the casino recalls the glittering Dook’ o’osliid, the western mountain that “light shines from within”.

Other Interiors:
Custom commissioned artwork is featured throughout the resort, casino and conference center.
Each restaurant has a different theme celebrating Navajo traditions.
Resort rooms and suites (available in three different configurations) feature a contemporary décor. Select rooms have panoramic mountain views, but each has superior linens, over-sized 100 percent Egyptian cotton towels and the iBahn entertainment system, which features the latest technology in room entertainment (a personalized multimedia HD TV experience).
The resort is further embellished with the sacred colors of the Navajo Nation and the unique basket weave design.

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Navajo Nation focuses on first casino in Arizona

Twin Arrows Navajo Casino Resort, the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise’s first casino in Arizona, is expected to be a major economic engine for the Flagstaff area.

“Twin Arrows will create a new benchmark in gaming entertainment while improving the economic health and prosperity of the Navajo Nation,” said Derrick Watchman, chief executive officer of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. “As northern Arizona’s premier destination casino resort, Twin Arrows will create approximately 800 full-time jobs with an annual payroll of $34 million, including salaries and benefits.”

Az Business caught up with Watchmen before the 267,000-square-foot facility opened over Memorial Day weekend to get his thoughts about Northern Arizona’s hottest new spot.

Az Business: What has been your biggest challenge opening the casino?
Derrick Watchman: This project has been going on for five years, from ideas and concepts to financing and securing land, but there really hasn’t been any one big obstacle. We’re shorthanded on employees. Each employee has to be licensed. With three other casinos, there is a lot of turnover, as there is with all restaurants and in retail. We had challenges securing money. I was hired to secure financing, but about that time (2008 and 2009), the market crashed. But, we convinced the tribe that we were a really good investment. Other challenges? We hit rock-bottom — literally. At groundbreaking. It was limestone. There are only a few big rock [demolishing companies] in the country so we had to secure them. The rock you see around here, around the lobby and hotel, is part of the land.

AB: How does Twin Arrows reflect the Navajo Nation?
DW: When we started development, we identified a cultural committee. They worked with the architects and decided how to incorporate Navajo elements. The chandelier in the rotunda is actually representational of the four levels of worlds we believe in. Each hotel depicts the four worlds of the Navajo. We commissioned 33 different, very well-known Navajo artists. They put in their vision. You’ll see depictions of Navajo beliefs, creatures, animals, plant life and different directions. Our nation is known for mutton stew and fry bread, too, which is served in the casino food court.

AB: What can visitors expect?
DW: Our goal is to be a four-diamond resort. The amenities in the rooms are all geared to four-star ratings. When someone comes to Twin Arrows, we want them to say, “Wow.” We want to be a great food venue. We have the latest and greatest slot machines. Our poker room has 12 tables. We plan on having tournaments. We want folks to stay here, have meetings here, and have fun. I’ve heard the term “oasis in the desert.” We want to be that.

AB: Why did you pick that particular location for its first Arizona casino?
DW: We’re next to Flagstaff and the Indian Reservation – right where it stops. We’re also on Route 66, a historic route, and on the way out or into Flagstaff and Winslow. It’s an ideal location.

casino indian gaming

Indian tribe will appeal Glendale casino ruling

An Indian tribe in Arizona has told a judge it intends to appeal his decision that concluded another Indian tribe’s plan to build a casino on the edge of Glendale was legal.

The Gila River Indian Community is appealing U.S. District Judge David Campbell’s May 7 ruling in which he said the Tohono O’odham Nation’s plan to build the casino was legal because the state’s voter-approved gambling compacts didn’t contain language prohibiting new casino construction.

The state of Arizona, Gila River Indian Community, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community sued the Tohono O’odham Nation to stop the casino.

They said it violates zoning and state laws and would disrupt residential neighborhoods.

The Tohono O’odham Nation unveiled its plans for the massive resort and casino in 2009.

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Navajo officials may expand casino alcohol use

Navajo gaming officials want to make it possible for people at the tribe’s Arizona casino to drink alcohol while they’re gambling.

Tribal law permits alcohol sales and consumption only in casino restaurants.

A bill moving through the Navajo Nation Council would allow drinks to be taken onto the casino floor.

Derrick Watchman is the chief executive of the Navajo Nation Gaming Enterprise. He says expanding areas where alcohol can be consumed would make the Twin Arrows casino near Flagstaff more competitive with other Arizona casinos.

The expansion wouldn’t carry over to the Navajo Nation’s casinos in New Mexico.

Alcohol is a touchy subject on the Navajo Nation, where the sale and consumption largely is banned.

Watchman expects the discussion over the bill to include the pervasive social ills of alcoholism.

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Navajo Nation looks to fill jobs at Flagstaff casino

The Navajo Nation is looking to fill 800 jobs at its newest casino opening this year near Flagstaff.

A job fair is being held Friday through Sunday in Flagstaff to fill accounting, human resources, marketing, hotel administration, food and beverage, training and other positions. Drug screening and background checks are being done on site, and candidates could be offered a job on the spot.

Navajos will be given preference for employment.

The $150 million Twin Arrows casino along Interstate 40 will have a hotel, conference center, spa and golf course. It is scheduled to open in mid-May.

The Navajo Nation operates three casinos in New Mexico. The Twin Arrows casino will be the first on the Arizona portion of the reservation.

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Tribe Scores Legals Win In Bid To Build Casino In Glendale

An Arizona tribe with plans to build a casino and resort on property it purchased near Glendale scored a key victory Tuesday when a federal appeals court ruled that the U.S. Department of Interior rightfully awarded reservation status to a section of the land.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals issued a split decision rejecting arguments by the city of Glendale that the property is ineligible for such status because it falls within its corporate limits. The property is an unincorporated island of Maricopa County and bordered on three sides by Glendale.

Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris Jr. characterized the lawsuit that challenged the U.S. Department of the Interior’s decision to award reservation status in 2010 as another delaying tactic.

“Just as courts and federal agencies have done eight straight times before, the 9th Circuit weighed the arguments and then ruled in the nation’s favor,” he said in a statement. “The court reaffirmed today that when the federal government makes a commitment to Native peoples, it will stand by those commitments.”

At issue was whether federal law permitted the tribe to convert the property it quietly purchased in 2003 into an Indian reservation, which would strip authority from state and local officials who argued the casino project clashes with zoning and state laws.

Federal law generally bars gambling on reservations created after 1988, but there are a few exceptions.

The tribe purchased the property with congressionally allocated money it was given after a federal government dam caused extensive flooding of its original reservation.

Glendale, the state of Arizona and another tribe had sued to overturn the DOI decision. A spokeswoman for the city and for the state Attorney General’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment Tuesday.

About 30,000 people live within two miles of where the casino is to be erected.

The tribe still faces other legal and regulatory challenges in building a casino. Opponents, including other tribes, contend the Tohono O’odham Nation went “reservation shopping” with the government’s money and shouldn’t be allowed to turn just any piece of property it purchases into a reservation and then a casino the size of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

casino indian gaming

Appeals Court Hears Tribe’s Glendale Casino Project

A federal appeals court on Monday has taken up an Arizona Indian tribe’s complicated legal fight to build a massive casino and resort near a Glendale neighborhood, on property the tribe owns 160 miles from the headquarters of its sprawling reservation.

The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco gave no hint of how or when it would rule after sharply questioning lawyers on both sides for nearly an hour.

At issue is whether federal law permits the Tohono O’odham Nation to convert property it quietly purchased in 2003 into an Indian reservation, which would strip authority from state and local officials who argue the casino project clashes with zoning and state laws.

A high school is located a few blocks from where the casino is to be erected, which is about a mile from a retail and entertainment district where Phoenix’s professional football and hockey teams play their home games. About 30,000 people live within two miles.

The suburban property is in an unincorporated island of Maricopa County and bordered on three sides by the city of Glendale, which is adjacent to Phoenix.

Local and state officials argue that the proposed 150,000-square-foot casino will require them to beef up fire, police and other civic requirements in an area not equipped to accommodate a Las Vegas-style resort.

The tribe says it bought the property with congressionally allocated money it was given after a federal government dam caused extensive flooding of the original reservation.

The Department of the Interior declared the Glendale property a reservation in 2010.

The tribe had received $30 million to replace nearly 10,000 acres of ancestral reservation land damaged by the dam. The tribe says the 135 acres purchased within the city limits of Glendale in 2003 is part of that replacement program, and the project is located about 60 miles from the damaged land.

Glendale, the state of Arizona and another tribe filed a lawsuit to overturn the Department of the Interior decision. Several other tribes submitted so-called friend-of-the-court briefs opposing the casino. A judge last year sided with the Tohono O’odham Nation, which is represented by former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman.

“This is an acre-for-acre replacement that was an Indian reservation even before Arizona was a state,” Waxman argued to the three-judge panel Monday. He said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar correctly deemed the land a reservation.

Lawyers for Glendale and tribes opposing the project argued that the Tohono O’odham Nation went “reservation shopping” with the government’s money and shouldn’t be allowed to turn just any piece of property it purchases into a reservation and then a sprawling casino the size of the Venetian Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Arizona Solicitor General Dave Cole said allowing the tribe to build a casino within Glendale but denying city, county and state officials any authority over the project makes the concept of local control “nothing more than an illusion.”

Federal law generally bars gambling on reservations created after 1988, but there are a few exceptions.

For more information on the Tohono O’odham Nation and this issue, visit www.tonation-nsn.gov.