Artist's rendering of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tejon near Bakersfield, California. Image: Tejon Tribe/Hard Rock International

Tejon Tribe lines up big partner for long-awaited gaming development

The Tejon Tribe is following up a major development on a long-awaited gaming project with a big announcement of its own.

The tribe has joined forces with Hard Rock International, one of the most prominent names in the gaming, entertainment and hospitality industry. The partners are planning to open a $600 million casino in central California.

“The Tejon Indian Tribe has a proud history in Kern County,” Chairman Octavio Escobedo said in a press release on Tuesday. “We welcome this partnership with Hard Rock International, one of the world’s most widely recognized brands, as an important step for our tribe and know that this project will be a great economic driver.”

The announcement comes after the project took a major step forward in Washington, D.C. In February, the Bureau of Indian Affairs finally released a scoping report for the tribe's 306-acre land-into-trust application in preparation for issuing an environmental impact statement for the forthcoming Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tejon.

According to the news release, 52 acres of the site will be devoted to a casino and a hotel, while 22 acres will be used for an RV park. The remainder of the property will be used for administrative offices, a health facility, housing and supporting infrastructure.

“Hard Rock International is excited to partner with the Tejon Indian Tribe, assisting in the achievement of their long-term goals,” said Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International. “We look forward to building a first-class project with the Tejon Indian Tribe that equals our hotel and casino projects across the world.”

While a decision from the BIA on the casino is still far down the line, the announcement adds to the presence of Hard Rock, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe, in the Golden State. The firm also has partnered with the Estom Yumeka Maidu Tribe of the Enterprise Rancheria to open the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sacramento at Fire Mountain.

Fire Mountain is being built on a 40-acre site near Sacramento, the state capital. It's expected to open later this year, following a topping-off ceremony for the structure in February.

The Tejon facility will be located near Bakersfield. That's more than 270 miles south of Sacramento.

The BIA placed the tribe back on the list of federally recognized entities in January 2012.

Read More on the Story
Hard Rock International signs on to develop Tejon Indian Tribe's casino project in Mettler (The Bakersfield Californian June 4, 2019)
Tejon Tribe announces new $600 million casino project near Highway 166 (The Taft Midway Driller June 4, 2019)
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon coming to Kern County (23ABC June 4, 2019)

Federal Register Notice
Notice of Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Tejon Indian Tribe's Proposed Trust Acquisition and Casino Project, Kern County, California (August 13, 2015)

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