Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon has been cleared to officially begin construction by California state. The US Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs (DIBIA) agreed to take 320 acres of Native American-owned land, in Kern County, into federal trust.
The Tejon Indian Tribe has been seeking to acquire land in Mettler, California that has been placed on the Federal Register for over a decade now. The federal distinction is needed to allow the Golden State to enter into a Class III gaming compact with the Tribe, which partnered with Hard Rock for this project.
This federal distinction allows developers to envision the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon as a Las Vegas-style establishment, full of slot machines and game tables.
Tejon Indian Tribe Chair Octavio Escobedo III commented: “The Tejon Tribe now has a homeland where its citizens can work and live together and collectively ensure a safe and economic environment for all.”
The Tejon Tribe claims to have established the state’s very first Native American reservation in 1853 (although it was later dissolved in 1864) when its members were forcibly removed from the land.
Now, however, the Tribe is poised to begin construction on a $600m casino complex with federal backing on the project. Kern County spokesperson Ally Soper commented: “Soon, construction will begin on our region’s very own Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, with Kern County now joining an elite circle of cities that provide this tourism hub to their community and visitors.”
The casino is expected to generate more than 3,000 new jobs. The majority of these positions will be filled by non-Tejon tribal members, with the Tejon tribe counting only around 1,200 members.
Groundbreaking on Hard Rock Tejon is likely to begin next summer, with construction expected to be completed within several years.