SMITH RIVER andndash; Though the earthmoving equipment has been on site for a week, the Smith River Rancheria Tribal Council officially broke ground Tuesday for a 71-room hotel at the Lucky 7 Casino.
The $10 million project should be completed in about 10 months. The three-story 47,000-square-foot facility will feature ocean views, an indoor swimming pool, a workout area and suites of up to 900 square feet.
"This is a really exciting day for us," said Tribal Chair Kara Miller, noting that community leaders from both Curry and Del Norte counties were present for the event. "We're right in the middle of everything."
The construction site is immediately south of the casino and its Tolowa Event Center. The overall facility also includes the House of Howonquet Restaurant.
Construction has blocked off parking on the south side of the complex, but with plenty of parking both on the Highway 101 side of the complex and to the east of the casino.
The general contractor for the project will be both local and tribal, Bommelyn-Hartley Construction, represented at the groundbreaking by Tribal Council Secretary Loren Bommelyn.
Other council members donning hard hats and picking up shovels for the event were vice chair Denise Padgette, treasurer Joel Bravo, Lenora Hall, Joseph Giovannetti and Marian Lopez.
Other partners in the project, Miller said, will be Rice Construction, with the possibility of Umpqua Bank participating in financing.
Lucky 7 Casino manager Terry Westrick will be the project manager, she said, along with Tribal Administrator Russ Crabtree.
Along with the Tolowa Event Center and wastewater treatment system for the rancheria, the hotel represents the third major construction project for the tribe over the past several years.