Casino rising in Rohnert Park

Five months after its tribal backers won final federal approval to move ahead, the largest casino resort in the Bay Area is starting to take shape on the northwest edge of Rohnert Park.

The project, launched by the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, is still in its early stages but has already invigorated union construction workers battered by the long economic slump in the North Bay.

So far, at least 150 union workers have found jobs on the $825 million project. It is expected to create 750 construction-related jobs while it is built over the next year.

The tribe's vision, which was on hold for close to a decade as controversy, lawsuits, negotiations and bureaucracy strung together the years, is now taking form in the contours of concrete and the geometry of steel girders rising from the 66-acre building site.

The curving roof line of the 332,500-square-foot casino building has been shaped. A concrete slab covers channels below the floor, which have been laid with pipes to transport coins from 3,000 slot machines that will be installed. And a parking garage big enough for 5,511 vehicles is rising.

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