Nation | Tribe: Tejon Indian Tribe
Mettler, Kern County, CA
(661) 834-8566 (Tribal Office)
The Tejon Indian Tribe has received federal approval to build a casino with a hotel and entertainment center on 306 acres of farmland located 15 miles south of Bakersfield near Mettler, California. The location is near California State Routes 99 and 66.
In June 2019 the tribe signed an agreement with Hard Rock International to develop and manage the hotel and casino. Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. The Tejon Indian casino project has been federally approved under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.
The project site is bordered by Wild Flower Street, South Sabodan Street, Valpredo Avenue and an unamed westside road.
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SUMMARY: Key features in the plan for a tribal casino in Kern County
$600 million construction project
Project Site is 306 acres near Mettler, CA
Casino will have 147,000-166,000 square feet
Hotel will have 300-400 rooms with 177,500-226,000 square feet
Rock Spa® and fitness facility at the hotel
13 restaurants and bars will be constructed in 56,700-73,300 square feet of space
Hard Rock Live® will be a concert venue
Entertainment and Retail Space will be 33,000-38,000 square feet
Conference and Meeting Rooms will be 32,000-53,000 square feet, the largest available in Kern County
Parking will have 3,600-4,500 spaces
RV Parking will be up to 22 acres
Open space will be used for organic farming, tribal headquarters, a community park and housing for tribal members.
The Tejon Indian Tribe become a federally-recognized tribe in January 2012.
On August 3, 2015 the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) issued a Notice of Intent that it was processing an application from the Tejon Indian Tribe to transfer Tejon Indian land into federal trust for a proposed casino project. [Source: Federal Register]
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was initiated by the BIA in August 2015 that required a Scoping Report followed by a Draft EIS and a Final EIS. [Source: EIS]
The Scoping Report was completed February 22, 2019. The Draft EIS is scheduled for completion in late 2019 and will be open for public comments.
On June 4, 2019 the Tejon Indian Tribe announced it has partnered with Hard Rock International for help developing and managing the project. For further information, see our news article below.
After a five-year process, the final draft of an environmental impact statement was completed in October 2020. A federal decision is now pending on whether or not the proposed casino may proceed.
Details of slot machines, table games and sports betting will be announced at a future date. The tribe will negotiate the types and numbers of games with the governor of California after federal approval of the project.
13 restaurants and bars are planned
Details to be announced
Hard Rock Live® is a planned concert venue
Planned venues will provide a local entertainment attraction.
300-400 guest rooms and suites
Rock Spa® and fitness facility
Details to be announced
Final plans are pending. Twenty two acres have been designated for a possible RV park.
January 24, 2021
The Tejon Indian Tribe received federal approval on Jan. 8 to build a Hard Rock Casino 15 miles south of Bakersfield, CA. The plan includes a 166,500-square foot gaming floor, a 400-room hotel, event center, restaurants and an RV park.
The casino will be a partnership between the Tejon Indian Tribe and Hard Rock International, which is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Approval for the casino was issued in a letter from Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Tara Sweeney dated January 8, 2021.
Gov. Gavin Newsom must now agree with the plan. If he does, the U.S. Department of Interior will take the tribe's 166 acres of land into federal trust allowing the casino to go forward.
October 28, 2020
After a five-year review the U.S. Department of Interior will soon decide whether to approve a casino application from the Tejon Indian Tribe to build a Hard Rock Hotel and Casino south of Bakersfield, California. The decision is expected within 3-4 weeks.
The Tejon Tribe is proposing a $600 million casino with a 400-room hotel, Rock Spa and fitness center, 13 restaurants, a Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, convention space, retail space and an RV park.
If the application is approved, the federal government will transfer the casino land into federal trust for the tribe. This removes the land from state regulations and places it under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Indian Gaming Regulation.
The U.S. Department of the Interior has 30 days to decide whether the casino may proceed.
July 13, 2020
Tejon Indian Tribe has reached a major milestone in its efforts to build a $600 million Indian gaming casino and hotel south of Bakersfield, California.
Last Wednesday the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs held a public hearing to discuss a recently drafted Enviromental Impact Study on the 306-acre site for the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tejon project. The environmental study began in 2015 and a draft report was completed last month. That report found little environmental impact will be created by construction of the project.
During the meeting the BIA sought public comments on the draft report. Many Kern County government officials and business leaders addressed the meeting and voiced their strong support for the casino. Their comments will be important and considered in final environmental impact statement.
"Today is important because it is a step toward reestablishing a tribal homeland for the Tejon Indian Tribe," said Tejon Tribe Chairman Octavio Escobedo.
Kern Economic Development Corp. President and CEO. Richard Chapman, made this comment:
"This is really a game changer. We've all heard about the $600 million impact of the project, but that does not count the future, new money coming into our economy. This is going to create much needed economic parity."
The tribe is seeking federal approval of the project to operate the casino under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. If the final environmental impact statement is approved, the Bureau of Indian Affairs will prepare to transfer the 306-acre site into federal trust for the Tejon Indian Tribe. The land-to-trust transfer grants sovereignty to the tribe and allows casino gaming under the regulation of the National Indian Gaming Commission.
July 24, 2019
In a 4-0 vote the Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a $218 million deal yesterday with the Tejon Indian Tribe to provide public safety services a proposed casino south of Bakersfield. The tribe would pay the county $218 million over 20 years for law enforcement, fire protection and other safety services .
The board's approval is an important milestone for the Tejon Indian Tribe in its progress towards winning federal approval to construct a casino on its reservation.
Tejon Tribe Chairman Octavio Escobedo was pleased with the 4-0 vote and said, "This is a truly historic day for the Tejon people. Everyone shares a vision of homeownership. This is our vision for a homeland."
The Tejon casino will be branded and managed by Hard Rock International. It will be a 165,500-square-foot casino with a 400-room hotel and include 13 restaurants and a concert venue.
The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs is currently drafting an environment impact study. It will be presented to the U.S. Interior Department next year for a decision on whether or not the Hard Rock Tejon project should proceed.
July 19, 2019
The Tejon Indians have been negotiating an agreement with Kern County Administrative Office for compensating the county for police and fire services needed at the proposed Hard Rock Hotel & Casino south of Bakerfield.
The Kern County Board of Supervisors will vote on the proposal during their July 23 session.
The plan includes a new sheriff and fire substation near the casino site, 13 new sheriff employees, 9 new fire employees and a gambling treatment program.
June 4, 2019
In a press release today the Tejon Indian Tribe announced their signing with Hard Rock International to develop and manage their casino project south of Bakersfield. Hard Rock International is owned by the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
The newly branded project is now the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon.
The plans call for $600 million to construct a Native American casino and hotel on a 306-acre parcel of farmland on the north side of Highway 166 between I-5 and Highway 99.
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tejon will include 13 restaurants and bars, a concert venue named Hard Rock Live, a Rock Spa and fitness center, the largest conference center in Kern County.
The timetable to the opening date is unknown. The next step toward federal approval will be completion of an environmental impact study later this year followed by a period for public review and comments. The results of that will determine if the Bureau of Indian Affairs gives a green light to proceed with the project.
Additional information about the partnership with Hard Rock International is available here in the Press Release issued by the Tejon Indian Tribe, June 4, 2019.
June 2, 2015
Courtesy of KBAK-TV Bakersfield
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