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.

Despite a scaled-back design, West Valley Resort still faces opposition.
Photo courtesy of Hnedak Bobo Group
Despite a scaled-back design, West Valley Resort still faces opposition.

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.