In an attempt to prevent a Las Vegas-style resort/casino from being built near Glendale, Ariz., Gov. Jan Brewer (R) signed a bill into law allowing Glendale to annex the 54-acre site. Casinos can be built only on tribal land, according to the state’s Indian Gaming Compact. However, as the law takes effect in 90 days, the window is open for legal maneuverings by the project’s developer, the Tohono O’odham Nation.
The bill, HB 2534, was pushed through the Republican-controlled Legislature last month but failed to reach a two-thirds majority that would have allowed the bill to be enacted immediately. It will allow municipalities to immediately annex property if a landowner has requested that the federal government hold the territory in trust.
“This legislation assures that local officials will continue to have a say in local development matters that affect their community,” Brewer says in a statement.
Originally estimated to cost $500 million, the resort’s initial design by Memphis-based Hnedak Bobo Group was scaled back to placate opponents. Amenities will include a spa, a convention space and events center, restaurants and a three-acre atrium.
The tribe bought the site, near Glendale’s University of Phoenix stadium, in 2003. Tribal leaders asked the U.S. Dept. of the Interior to designate the site as tribal land, citing a congressional mandate to replace tribal land flooded in 1960 by the Painted Rock Dam, west of Gila Bend, Ariz.