Media members were invited Wednesday to a preview of the 364,000-square-foot Graton Resort & Casino in Rohnert Park, where they were given the opportunity to witness what $820 million can buy.
The actual cost of the North Bay’s largest casino has been quoted as ranging from $800 million to $825 million, but who’s quibbling. It’s the most expensive building ever built in the North Bay, and it’s roughly enough money to buy 683 Ferrari LaFerraris (if they made that many), or more than 48,000 Toyota Corollas.
It would also pay for a complete four-lane freeway from roughly Santa Rosa to San Francisco. Or it would feed more than 1 million Haitians every day for a year.
In casino resort terms, $820 million will buy 11,000-square-yards of custom-woven carpets featuring 28 colors, with patterns inspired by Sonoma County flowers; 32,000-square-feet of bespoke white terrazzo flooring with glass, marble, mother-of-pearl shells and mirror chips; more than 360 chandeliers; 15,552 linear feet of twisted, hand-painted faux wood (that’s about three miles); 2,800 square feet of Zebrano marble; 3,000 slot and video poker machines; 144 table games; four full-service restaurants seating at least 200 people each; nine “casual” dining choices in a 500-seat food court; three lounges, including a sports bar with at least 38 flat-screen TVs; a 9,000-square-foot events center with seatingfor 750; so many other flat-screen TVs in so many places no one seems to have even counted them all yet – but think hundreds; 5,700 parking spaces and a whole lot more.
The sneak preview revealed what looked like acres of slot machines and a bright cheery environment that Greg Sarris, tribal chairman of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, said was a deliberate effort to avoid the dark, somber lighting and atmosphere of most conventional casinos.
The intention, said Sarris, was to give to North Bay residents – and patrons coming from far beyond – “the best casino resort experience we can give them.”
Upon completion, the mega-resort will provide 2,000 fulltime jobs, and construction has created 700 new jobs since groundbreaking in June of 2012.
Official opening of the resort is set for Nov. 5, subject (as a media alert explained) “to receiving all required regulatory approvals.”
With a month to go, that deadline may or may not be realistic, but judging from the feverish pace of work being performed on and around the sea of slot machines, don’t bet against it.