Unfinished parking lot and extreme heat holds up Chemehuevi Indian Tribe’s Havasu Landing Casino opening

Nearly seven years in the making, “work force challenges” are being blamed for the delay of the long-awaited opening of the new $40 million Havasu Landing Resort & Casino in California across the border from Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

The Chemehuevi Indian Tribe broke ground on the 25,000 square-foot resort and casino on November 14, 2017. At that time, California-based Bernards Bros. Construction slated the project for completion in spring 2019. However, tribal officials say that an unpaved parking lot now stands in the way of the much-anticipated grand opening.

“We’ve done several walk-throughs but we don’t have any firm, hard dates yet (for opening) because there’s no parking lot.”

According to Today’s News-Herald, vice chairman for the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Brian McDonald, said…

“Find me some concrete workers. We’re having work force challenges in trying to get our parking lot finished. We can’t invite people here if the lot isn’t done.

Excessive heat contributing factor: 

The news report indicates that the intense heat this summer has contributed to concrete finishers being prevented from completing the work. The Desert Southwest continues to experience blistering temperatures as a heat wave makes its way through the region, with temps easily reaching triple digits.

The region is currently under an excessive heat warning.

Otherwise good-to-go:

All other construction work, however, is on schedule, noted McDonald…

“Things are progressing on track for the dates we had with contractors. The parking lot is the last big piece of the project.”

From humble beginnings:

The federally recognized Chemehuevi Indian Tribe is also responsible for the Havasu Landing Resort and Casino situated on the western shores of Lake Havasu at Havasu Lake, California. And in 1967 Havasu Palms Inc. leased the casino site property from the federal government, and the land/Havasu Landing wasn’t added to the reservation until 1974 and has been the primary source of revenue for the tribe since then. The new casino, located just a quarter-mile north, will reportedly replace the nearby existing gambling venue.

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Targeted opening:

Former tribal official, Glen Lodge, told Today’s News-Herald in the spring that July was targeted for both the opening of the new hotel and the casino. According to the news agency, McDonald said that Lodge’s statement was by all accounts factual a few months ago.

“We had to choose a date for the alcohol license, so we chose July 31,” said, McDonald. “We’ve done several walk-throughs but we don’t have any firm, hard dates yet (for opening) because there’s no parking lot.”

McDonald also reportedly made note of the fact that art for the new facility is being assembled by the tribe and that this week furniture will be delivered.

New digs:

A previously published report by the news agency explained that at 13,000 square feet, the soon to open gaming venue’s single-story casino will be about 30 percent larger than the existing one and include 320 gaming machines and 6 gaming tables. Additionally, at 2,000 square feet, the adjoining restaurant would also be approximately 30 percent larger than the Trails End Restaurant in the existing facility. It also appears as though there will be a full-service bar on the casino floor.

Adjacent to the casino, the new resort hotel that broke ground almost two years ago includes 48 guestrooms and along with a 117-slip marina with a fuel dock, the new property will feature a small meeting space, fitness center, pool and an arcade for kids.

Lodging demand:

With no hotels currently located on the Chemehuevi reservation, there have been logistical problems for families who visit and a significant number of inquiries from people who visit regarding overnight accommodations.

Fire protection a non-issue:

According to Today’s News-Herald, talk in the town blaming the opening delay on a lack of around the clock fire protection was dismissed by McDonald, who said…

“The fire protection issue has been resolved. We’ll have 24-hour fire service through San Bernardino County. We’re having a celebration on Aug. 5 to recognize it.”

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The fire department will reportedly cover the Tribe reservation as well as other real estate in the county.

“We have pockets of county property on the reservation,” said McDonald. “We have 32,000 to 36,000 acres of pristine desert. It runs from just north of Copper Canyon to just short of the (Havasu) wildlife refuge.”

Call for finishers:

McDonald reiterated the issue with the delay and said that they “need good concrete workers” and for “good finishers” to contact him.

Visitors can get to the new casino resort via hourly ferry rides from Lake Havasu City.

The existing casino at One Main Street, features 245 gaming machines including penny slots, video poker and keno games, in-house progressives, million-dollar progressives, along with a card roo 7BALL m for live blackjack and three card Poker.

A 2016 report indicated that before the construction process could start, in 2015 the tribe was still waiting for an Environmental Impact Report to be approved before going forward with the project. No issues were reportedly found.