The Movement Has Begun!
Taphouse/Sports Bar & Grill
Why Move the Casino
- Tule River Tribe has ties to the proposed location
- Stays in Porterville Community.
- Significant economic benefits.
- Public safety and community improvements.
- Repurpose the existing casino.
- Relieve existing water usage & drought concerns for Reservation residents.
Approximately 17 miles from the current location
Project Phase 1 Includes:
- 2,000 Seat Event Center
- The River Steak House
- Yokuts Coffee House featuring Stafford’s Chocolates
- 24 Hour Diner
- 1750 Slots
- 20 Table Games
- Sports Bar & Grill
Phase 2 Includes:
- 125 Room Hotel
- 20,000 Sq. Ft Banquet & Conference Space
Significant Economic Benefits
- New jobs with fair compensations will be created as a direct result of this proposed project.
- During construction, the project will create hundreds of temporary jobs and millions in annual wages.
- following the construction, approximately 300 full and part-time additional jobs added.
Repurpose of Existing Casino
- Expand existing Tribal school site.
- Offer more health services to Tribal Members.
- Move Tribal offices to consolidate Tribal government.
- Cease gaming but maintain some food and restaurant options for Tribal Members.
**The above information was found at the Tule River Indian Tribe website, for more information click on the link: https://tulerivertribe-nsn.gov/
Tule River Tribe Breaks Ground on New Casino and Announces
Design and Architect Firm before Ground Breaking Event
(Eagle Mountain Casino, Porterville, Ca 93257) – The Tule River Tribe and Eagle Mountain Casino are breaking ground on the new casino after 25 years in business April 6th, 2021.
The tribe has chosen HBG as the design firm for their new casino on 40 acres located near the Porterville Airport off Highway 65.
For over 40 years, HBG Design has on the leading edge of hospitality and entertainment design, creating imaginative and memorable guest experiences. As a Top 5 hospitality and entertainment design firm in the U.S., their team of 100+ architects, interior designers and building professionals in Memphis, TN, and San Diego, CA, share a passion for making stories come to life by shaping physical space and connecting people to place. Representative clients across the U.S. include over 45 Indian gaming enterprises, and Commercial hospitality and entertainment giants such as Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Elvis Presley Enterprises. HBG Design was recognized as an Associate Member of the Year by the National Indian Gaming Association for their support of Indian gaming tribes and Native American education programs. Visit www.hbg.design.
Additional details about the new property will be shared at the official groundbreaking ceremony, taking place at 11am April 6th, by invite only and limited capacity with COVID protocols in place for a safe celebration.
Details on the New Property by the Design Firm:
During an interview, Joe Baruffaldi, AIA, Principal for the project, Rob Jurbergs, AIA-Principal for design, answered some questions about the new project in Porterville and why their firm was selected.
What does HBG bring to the table that no other design firm can?
HBG Design’s approach to designing casinos, hotels and casino resorts is very market and customer focused. Before we ever set pen to paper or start our design process, we focus on understanding how our planning and design process can best support our client’s business and enhance the entire entertainment experience for customers coming to the new casino or hotel property. We want to know what the customers in the local region are looking for from an entertainment venue. Comfortable dining and gaming amenities, a clean environment, these are a given. But what about the design will keep guests coming back again and again? The answer is unique to each Owner, region and community. Our goal is to create design that is perfectly customized to the client and community and that offers exciting entertainment amenity choices, elevated quality, and memorable design. This is how we help our tribal clients in their journey to create legacy investments that economically support their communities.
How do you intend to incorporate the Tule River Tribe and their culture into the design of the property?
The new casino relocation to Porterville will offer a more centralized location for casino guests and will bring a bit of Tule River culture into the valley by keeping the feel of the Tule River heritage in the architecture and the gaming experience.
As designers, we find the research phase and immersion into our client’s culture and project vision fascinating; so, we were thrilled that the ownership team decided to integrate key elements of their tribal land, and their relationship with the land, into the property aesthetic. It becomes quite an important and unique differentiator.
The tribe’s indigenous homeland is where the Great Sequoia grows. The Sequoia tree canopy, trunk and roots became main conceptual design elements that abstractly tie the story of culture and heritage to the aesthetic design of the casino property – from the arrival experience to the details within.
The Tule Tribe has been very receptive to incorporating storytelling concepts based on significant cultural elements. Key design concepts are rooted in the land and agrarian context of Tulare County and Central California with the design influenced heavily by a lodge aesthetic with wood and stone structural expressions. Inside, guests will experience an abstract depiction of the Tule River Tribe’s native traditions through art, patterns, and imagery. Soaring vertical features will recall the majesty of the Giant Sequoia and the Golden Eagle, each important tribal cultural symbols. Flowing forms will recall the winding Tule River and organic curves of nature.
Throughout the casino, a variety of tribal basket patterning will highlight ceiling and floor planes and light fixtures. Elements come together to create a holistic design environment. Patterns and motifs of tribal symbolism will help draw guests through wayfinding paths, to the casino, the center bar, the dining venues and to ancillary spaces.
A significant Tule River tribal motif called The Flight of the Butterfly will begin at the entry and continue through the gaming space into the center bar. There it will intertwine at the ceiling soffit with a mountain silhouette design that emulates the regional landscape. The center bar conceptually symbolizes the idea of the fire as a place of gathering, rest and fellowship. Fire is historically welcoming and symbolic to the tribe’s culture.
What will be the focus upon entering the Casino?
The Eagle Mountain Casino will extend the Tule River Tribe cultural hospitality to each guest, welcoming customers with a warm, approachable, and comfortable environment. The arrival
experience will greet guests with water features and a replica of the iconic tribal Painted Rock with Bigfoot pictographs found on the Tule River reservation lands.
The interior entrance corridor will showcase tribal baskets and other cultural elements. A design concept inspired by embers and gathering by the fire draws guests to interact with the casino floor, as tribal motifs like the Flight of the Butterfly basket pattern begin to weave through soffits and ceiling features toward the center bar. These signature touches will be remembered by loyal customers many of which were frequent visitors to the former reservation casino.
What has been the most challenging aspect of designing the new Eagle Mountain Casino?
Project delivery during the pandemic has been a challenge for everyone, but the Tule River Ownership team has done an incredible great job maintaining flexibility and ensuring safety during this trying time. As such, the project has moved steadily ahead by utilizing more online Zoom video conferencing meetings during phases of the project when we would typically be meeting in person. We contribute this smooth project flow to the perseverance of the entire project team who remain devoted to keeping the project moving ahead despite what could have been quite a difficult obstacle.
How many designers worked on completing the design?
Between HBG Design’s offices in San Diego and Memphis, we have over 15 staff dedicated to the architecture, interior design and documentation for the new Eagle Mountain Casino.
HBG Design has 100+ employees combined in both of our offices who collaborate and contribute to the success of our design projects. Design leadership for the Eagle Mountain Casino project was focused in our San Diego office, and we have developed a seamless integration of talent from both our office locations to deliver Indian gaming projects across the U.S.
Who are the designers of this project and what is their background experience?
HBG Design’s project team consists of architectural and interior designers who are highly experienced in leading the design and delivery of Indian gaming projects across the U.S. This is a team who know the ins and outs of this specific project type — casino and food and beverage design — and excel at translating our tribal client’s vision into reality using unique design concepts that capture how the Tule River Tribe wants to represent their culture and heritage through their business enterprises.
HBG Design’s Lead Design Team included (bios can be provided if needed):
Joe Baruffaldi, Jr., AIA – Principal and Project Manager for Design
Rob Jurbergs, AIA, LEED Green Associate – Principal and Lead Architectural Designer
Alexandra Campbell, IIDA, NCIDQ – Senior Associate and Senior Interior Design
Katie Toth, IIDA, NCIDA – Senior Interior Designer
Chris Wood, IIDA, NCIDQ – Interior Designer
Kelly DeVine – Principal and Director of Entertainment Design and Development
What has been the most rewarding part of designing this project?
The entire process of getting to know the Tule River Tribe, their culture and heritage has been extremely rewarding. Over these past 5+ years, our team has become part of their journey to
achieving this new development; we know the impact of this investment and how it will give back to the Tule River community. We have worked together to help shepherd the project closer and closer to fruition. These aspects of the Eagle Mountain Casino project, and so many other Native American owned projects, are the most rewarding for our team. We are contributing to legacy investments that will make tangible differences in the quality of tribal community growth and economic advancement.
What about this casino; will be different than any other casino project you have worked on?
We make it our mission to design entertainment properties to be a reflection of the regional customer and their interests. What makes this casino different is that it is distinctly designed with cultural tribal influences of the Tule River Tribe, and also specifically for the Porterville gaming customer. Overall a comfortable and approachable experience, the property will feature a tap house/sports bar, relaxed intimate gaming spaces, and multiple dining experiences from the food court, three-meal restaurant and the higher-end Steak Restaurant.
What is your signature touch to the final completion of the property?
Design to meet the regional aesthetic and distinct needs of the regional customer. The exterior design has a distinct lodge aesthetic that feels connected to the woodland. Pitched roof, exposed timbers, and timeless aesthetic gives a comfort and warmth to the experience for overall broad appeal. Natural materials and woodland colors help bring in the sense of comfort to guests arriving at the property.
Big or small projects, what does HBG hope Guests will remember about your work?
We strive to create memorable and transformative experiences – this can mean different things in different locations where we create projects. For the Eagle Mountain Casino, we hope the experience is what each guest remembers – the warmth, comfort and approachability that becomes a respite and entertainment escape.
What is your top priority of the design when starting?
We prioritize understanding the region, the existing and potential customers and the market needs and opportunities to create a gaming experience where loyal patrons and new customers will feel welcomed and entertained. That is a key goal: to make sure the end design result meets the needs of the gaming customers in the region.
Will you use local partners for this project?
Here are three local business we are partnering with from the Central Valley, plus we will be partnering with several other businesses throughout California.
The project’s civil engineer, 4Creeks, Inc., is local to the area, located in Visalia, CA.
The project’s electrical engineer, A-C Electric Company, is located in Fresno, CA.
The project’s electrical engineer, Hardin-Davidson Engineering, is located in Clovis, CA.
Will designs of this project contain COVID safety elements?
Yes, our team has designed in some obvious and some subtle safety elements that will enhance distancing and separation throughout the casino. For example, plexiglas infill screens will be located at the cage, in the player’s club and the box office. Decorative screening in the center bar will help create added distance between lounge seating groups. Our original program called for a
buffet, so the team had to rethink this concept as a three-meal restaurant given new health challenges. Many gaming properties have moved away from buffet dining as a result of new safety concerns so this was not surprising. We were able to create a new dining concept that will be even more comfortable and welcoming for patrons.
The Owner also invested in a premium air system for the new property. This is definitely a higher quality feature than most casinos in the area can provide, and will deliver fresh and filtered air toward the guest-level while pushing stale air to the ceiling where it can be captured and expelled.
Because we were still in design when Covid-19 hit, we were able to add in these environmental features into the overall design so that the new casino is clean and safe for guests. There are more robust safety elements designed into the new facility versus what an existing casino could provide.
Do you have timeline of project?
Construction is expected to begin in April 2021 and the new property is expected to open in the Fall of 2022.
“The HBG Design team is so honored to have worked alongside the Tule River Tribe over the past 5+ years in the design and delivery of the new Eagle Mountain Casino project. Since we began the planning and design process, the ownership team has always been extremely open and professional in sharing their project vision and goals, inviting our team to become partners in their development journey. They have immersed the design team in tribal culture and heritage and graciously embraced our conceptual storytelling as it extends into the architectural and interior design aesthetic. In fact, this entire project was built on good decision-making. I have no doubt that as the casino progresses into construction toward opening day, the result will be an extraordinary project that will contribute greatly to the betterment of the tribe and the Porterville community.” – Joe Baruffaldi, AIA, Principal, HBG Design, San Diego office
Eagle Mountain Casino is a full service casino and is owned and operated by the Tule River Tribe. Guests must be 18 years of age to enter and the Casino is open 24/7 with at a limited capacity. The Grizzly Food court is open 24/7 and the River Steakhouse is open Friday – Sunday from 5pm – 10pm. Eagle Mountain Casino is a short drive from Bakersfield or Visalia.
Department of Interior approves the Tule River Indian Tribe’s fee-to-trust application for
casino relocation project and approves its Tribal State Compact
(Eagle Mountain Casino, Porterville, CA 93257) – On December 7, 2020, the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs approved the fee-to-trust application for the Tule River Indian Tribe of California (Tribe), allowing the Tribe to conduct gaming on 40 acres of the Tribe’s land in Porterville, California. The Department of Interior also deemed approved the Tribal State Compact between the State of California and the Tribe which will take effect on December 11, 2020. Although the Tribe submitted its fee-to-trust application in September 2016, it has spent 20 years preparing for the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino. With the approval of the fee-to-trust and the Tribal State Compact, the Tribe can now break ground on the long-awaited relocation project that will allow the Tribe to move the Eagle Mountain Casino from its current location on the Tule River Indian Reservation to the City of Porterville, California. “This decision will allow the Tribe to relocate our existing casino to the City of Porterville so that we may use our limited water supply to provide critical housing to our tribal members and continue to improve the general welfare of our tribal members. We are grateful to the Office of Indian Gaming, the BIA Regional Office and the Assistant Secretary’s office for their service to Indian Country and for helping us create much needed jobs and provide opportunities for the local community.”
In August of 2020, the Tribe obtained the final approvals needed from the State of California to authorize the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino, including the Governor’s concurrence with the BIA’s determination to place the 40 acres into trust, the Governor’s execution of the Tribal-State Compact, and the State Legislature’s ratification of the Compact. “These approvals represent the culmination of decades of hard work and perseverance and we are pleased that the Governor recognized the substantial benefits of the project for the community,” noted Tribal Chairman Neil Peyron.
The issuance of these approvals marks the end of the Tribe’s decades-long journey to bring the 40 acres into trust, an effort that the community and local governments have strongly supported. “We appreciate all of the support we have received and are proud of our rewarding partnerships with the City of Porterville, Tulare County and the State of California – each of which was critical in making the relocation project a reality,” said Chairman Peyron.
The Tribe and the Eagle Mountain Casino are excited to proceed with obtaining financing to construct the casino resort, which is expected to create approximately 400 construction jobs and 300 or more full-time and part-time casino operation jobs, and which will result in additional funding to the City of Porterville and County of Tulare. In addition to creating jobs, the Tribe entered into inter-governmental agreements with the City of Porterville and Tulare County to address any impacts of the relocation project and provide funding for various governmental services. “We look forward to what the future holds for our Tribe and the surrounding community,” shared Chairman Peyron.
Governor Signs Casino Relocation
Tule River Tribe Receives Governor’s Final Approval for Eagle Mountain Casino Relocation
Tule River Reservation, Porterville, Ca 93257 – California Governor, Gavin Newsom today officially concurred with the October 7, 2019 U.S. Department of Interior/Bureau of Indian Affairs’ (DOI/BIA) favorable “two-part” determination on the Tule River Tribe’s proposed gaming project in Porterville, California. Governor Newsome’s concurrence allows the Tule River Tribe to move forward with its application to transfer its already owned 40-acre property in Porterville, off of Hwy 65, (Relocation Project Site) into trust for the location of the new hotel and casino, which will operate class III gaming on the Relocation Project Site, per the approved compact.
The Governor’s concurrence and compact (along with the State Legislature’s ratification) are the final approvals needed to authorize the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino to the Relocation Project Site. “These recent approvals represent the culmination of decades of hard work and perseverance and we are pleased that the Governor recognized the substantial benefits of the project for the community.” noted Tule River Council Chairman, Neil Peyron.
The issuance of these approvals marks the end of a 20-year journey to bring the Relocation Project Site into trust, which has been widely supported by the community and local governments alike. “We appreciate all of the support we have received and are proud of our rewarding partnerships with the City of Porterville, Tulare County and the State of California – each of whom were critical in making the relocation project a reality.” continues Peyron.
The Tribe and the Eagle Mountain Casino are excited to be able to move forward with obtaining financing to construct the casino and resort, which will bring approximately 400 construction jobs and 300 or more full time and part time casino operation jobs, which will result in positive economic growth for the City of Porterville and County of Tulare. The Tribe has also entered into intergovernmental agreements with the City of Porterville and Tulare County to address any impacts of the Relocation Project and to provide funding for various governmental services. “We look forward to what the future holds for our tribe and the surrounding communities.” shared Peyron.
The Tule River reservation was established in 1873 in Porterville, Ca. Tribal enrollment is just over 1900 and the reservation spans approximately 55,356 acres. The Tule River Yokut Tribe operates the Tule River Health Center, Justice Center, and many tribal services within the reservation. The tribe also owns and operates gas stations, restaurants, and other entities under the TREDC (Tule River Economic Development Corporation).
For more information, please contact Casino General Manager, Matthew Mingrone at (559)788-1891 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tulare County and the Tule River Indian Tribe Reach Intergovernmental Agreement on Eagle Mountain Casino Relocation
PORTERVILLE, CA – On January 7, 2020, the Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved a Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Agreement (MOU) with the Tule River Indian Tribe to address environmental impacts related to the proposed relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino to land adjacent to the Porterville Airport. The MOU also provides funding for County programs and services including road improvements within the County. “The Tribe has remained committed to ensuring the relocation project is a project that not only contributes to the success of the Tribe, but also to the surrounding community,” stated Chairman Neil Peyron.” The County MOU is a strong reflection of that commitment.”
The proposed relocation project includes a hotel, event center and convention space, sports bar, restaurant, buffet and food court, and entertainment lounge. The proposed relocation project will also include a new tertiary water treatment facility and a fire station at the casino site with the capability to assist the City and County on emergency calls. “The County and the Tribe have benefited from a productive relationship for many years and we are pleased to have reached a mutual agreement in mitigating the impacts associated with relocating Eagle Mountain Casino,” stated Board Chairman Pete Vander Poel. “We appreciate and are supportive of the Tribe’s efforts to improve our local economy while also improving County infrastructure benefiting all Tulare County residents.” The Tribe and County officials are excited about the new employment opportunities the relocation project will offer and the positive economic impact the relocation project will have on the Tribe and the surrounding community. As one of the largest employers in the area, there is broad public support for the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino because it will allow current employees a shorter commute time, provide additional employment opportunities and increase tourism in the area.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding and Intergovernmental Agreement, the Tribe has agreed to mitigate all the environmental impacts related to the relocation project, including improving a portion of Teapot Dome Avenue, the intersection at Avenue 256/Spruce Road and the intersection at SR 190/Rockford Road. In addition to meeting its mitigation requirements, the Tribe has also agreed to pay to make improvements to portions of Westwood Street. “The Tribe is looking forward to the relocation of the Eagle Mountain Casino and intends to continue its long-standing history of investing in the local community,” expressed Chairman Peyron. “Securing the support of the County through this MOU will hopefully help fast track the approval of our project.”
EAGLE MOUNTAIN CASINO’S
GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY – APRIL 6, 2021
Our very own Marketing Director, Renee Garcia, was on KMPH Great Day!
Click on the link to watch the entire segment https://kmph.com/great-day/eagle-mountain-casino-to-partner-with-porterville-chocolate-shop
Below are links to the news coverage of Eagle Mountain Casino’s Groundbreaking Ceremony.