CHANDLER, Ariz. — The Gila River Indian Community has broken ground on a major expansion of its Wild Horse Pass casino and resort property. 

The $143 million project will add a new 11-story, 150-foot-tall tower that will feature 205 guest rooms, bringing the Wild Horse Pass to a total of 447 rooms when the expansion is completed, which is expected in fall of next year. 

As well, the expansion will add 18,000 square feet of indoor meeting space and 4,000 square feet of outdoor meeting space, as well as a rooftop dining option with a view of the nearby Estrella mountains. 

Gila River Hotels & Casinos attributes the major addition to the company’s “rapid growth” across Arizona. This will be the first expansion at the Wild Horse Pass property since it opened in 2009.

“This expansion is a major investment in the Gila River Indian Community and symbolic of a new chapter in our history,” Gila River Hotels & Casinos CEO Kenneth Manuel said in a statement. “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.”

The company is working with 17 artists who reside on the reservation for custom artwork for the hotel, including paintings and photographs that “reflect the culture of Arizona and the Gila River Indian Community.”

For the expansion, the tribal enterprise tapped into a couple of long-term partners it has worked with on prior projects. That includes project management firm Tempe, Ariz-based TynanGroup, which was involved in the initial construction of the Wild Horse Pass property, and Friedmutter Group, a Las Vegas-based architecture firm that has worked with the Gila River Indian Community for the last 10 years.

Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction Co. is serving as general contractor on the project. 

“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,” Mike Nunn, project executive for Sundt Construction, said in a statement. “When completed, the expansion will continue to provide a long lasting and positive impact to the Community.”

Gila River Resorts & Casinos also operates Lone Butte in Chandler, Ariz. and Vee Quiva in Laveen, Ariz. 

The company closed its facilities twice in reaction to spiking cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, including the death of a security guard at the Lone Butte property, as Native News Online previously reported. The gaming facilities reopened on July 2.

Support Independent Indigenous Journalism

Native News Online is an independent, Indigenous-led newsroom with a crucial mission:  We want to change the narrative about Indian Country. We do this by producing intelligent, fact-based journalism that tells the full story from all corners of Indian Country.  We pride ourselves on covering the tribes you may have never heard of before and by respecting and listening to the communities we serve through our reporting. As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink, coverage of Indian Country is more important than ever, and we are committed to filling this ever-present hole in journalism.

Because we believe everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities, the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers. But we hope it inspires you to make a gift to Native News Online so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount, big or small, gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. 
Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous journalism. Thank you.

About The Author
Native News Online Staff
Author: Native News Online Staff