Best Sports/Entertainment Project: Graton Resort & Casino, Rohnert Park

Photos courtesy of Station Casinos
The project was built on a fast-track schedule of just 17 months.
Photos courtesy of Station Casinos
The 340,000-sq-ft entertainment venue includes a high-end Vegas-like casino.

Using fast-tracked delivery, crews took only 17 months to construct a 340,000-sq-ft casino that includes a 9,000-sq-ft events center and more than a dozen eateries, along with more than 70 acres of site infrastructure improvements.

The resort development was fraught with difficulties, including delayed financing and full-time environmental oversight due to the site's proximity to a wetlands area, which is home to two rare species.

Perhaps the biggest hurdle was the project's intense public scrutiny, which was not always positive. Fierce opposition from some community groups over environmental concerns and fears of increased traffic made the permitting process more difficult and lengthier, according to project leaders.

In an attempt to appease the community, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, which owns the resort, added numerous infrastructure improvements around the casino, including several roadways, a 7,000-sq-ft water treatment plant and sewer connection to Rohnert Park.

To alleviate traffic concerns, the tribe funded two vehicle bridges, signal improvements and a ramp to widen Highway 101. Most of the work was outside the original scope.

The controversy delayed the project's start, causing construction to coincide with the rainy season. A temporary roof membrane and shrink-wrap-coated scaffolding along the exterior walls helped keep work on track.

"There was constant dialogue during construction to keep everyone apprised of the changing schedule and to solicit ideas [from] the subcontractors, especially pertaining to the project's expanded scope," says Tony Meyer, Tutor Perini's project executive.

The union project employed 700 workers—all of whom participated in mandatory drug screening.

The detail-oriented craftworkers installed materials including painted exotic wood finishes, 2,800 sq ft of Zebrano marble and 32,000 sq ft of bespoke white terrazzo flooring accented with glass mother-of-pearl shells and mirror chips.

The casino includes 199 chandeliers, including a series of 12-ft-tall fixtures filled with more than 24,000 red and pink glass floating "flower petals."

Key Players

Contractor Tutor Perini Building Corp. JV with Rudolph and Sletten

Owner The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria

Developer and Manager Station Casinos

Design Architect Friedmutter Group

Architect of Record KGA Architecture

Structural Engineer John A. Martin & Associates

Civil Engineer RBF Consulting

MEP Engineer JBA Consulting Engineers