Pechanga's $285M expansion at midway point – The San Diego Union-Tribune

Pechanga Resort & Casino is halfway through its $285 million expansion, a benchmark that was celebrated Wednesday at the Temecula property.

Pechanga tribal members, employees, local elected officials, construction workers and a sizable contingent from the Asian media community attended the event, which was held in the shadow of a new hotel tower and a stand-alone, two-story spa.

“Today is a very important milestone for the Pechanga tribe,” said Edith Atwood, president of the Pechanga Development Corp. Atwood listed the scale of the resort when complete: 13 restaurants, nearly 1,100 total hotel rooms and suites, a 4 ½-acre pool, “and a casino floor that is bigger and better than any in Las Vegas.”

As part of a “topping-off” ceremony, the last 710 tons of concrete were poured into the upper framing of the 14th story of the new tower. A symbolic small oak tree and American flag were hoisted in a yellow, concrete-filled drum up to top of the south tower. The tree will be replanted on the resort’s ground when the expansion is complete.

“We were not the first in the casino business. We sat back and watched the landscape,” said Mark Macarro, tribal chairman of the Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians.

“It’s a proud moment for us … and when this is complete, Pechanga will be the true leader in Indian gaming.”

Already one of the largest casino properties in Southern California, Pechanga is more than doubling its room and suite capacity as well as adding 67,000 square feet of event space; the resort-style pool area; the spa, which will have 17 treatment rooms; a fitness center and hydrotherapy pool terrace; and two new restaurants.

The hotel, spa and other amenities are expected to open by December. Heavy winter rains delayed the pool area’s completion until early

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