Cathedral City Council approves a new casino, and agreement with the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

Cathedral City Council approved the newest offering by Aqua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians (Tribe) proposes to build a gaming facility and ancillary amenities on land that it owns contiguous to the Tribe’s Reservation within the City of Cathedral City (City), in Riverside County, California (Proposed Project).

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The new Agua Caliente casino is expected to be built on a 13.6 acre plot of land near Highway 111 and Date Palm Drive.

As part of the Proposed Project, an application was filed with the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to convert the Cathedral City property into tribal trust land on behalf of the Tribe for gaming purposes.

The law requires that the conversion must be completed before a casino may be built there. City officials added this approval could come very soon.

While awaiting for the final approval, the city council approved a new agreement in which the tribe will pay $150,000 per year for emergency services and$500,000 per year for road repairs for 10 years.

Additionally, the tribe would make contributions for a traffic signal to be installed at Buddy Rogers Avenue and Date Palm Drive, and  add “noise reduction measures” along Buddy Rogers Avenue adjacent to city parks.

The Palm Springs-based tribe, which owns and operates resort-casinos in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, hopes to develop its third gaming operation on the long-vacant parcel, said Stone James, Cathedral City’s economic development director.

The two-phase project will start with the casino, which will cover up to 65,000 square feet. The tribe will be allowed to operate up 500 slot machines, a figure based on an agreement tribal officials reached with the state two years ago.

Phase two, which will cover up to 60,000 square feet, may include restaurants and bars, retail, office space and space for some mixed-use projects, according to development plans released in January.

The tribe first announced plans for the casino in Cathedral City in April 2017 and paid $5.5 million for the land later that year. This will be the tribe’s first gaming facility off the existing reservation.