Casino Del Sol Ribbon Cutting

During the grand-opening celebration of the new $130 million resort, Casino Del Sol took time on Friday to honor veterans. The new hotel is now open to the public after nearly two years of construction.

Tere Pinati/The Explorer

The $130 million expansion at the Casino Del Sol opened on Nov. 11 with a ribbon cutting and salute to America’s veterans.

The expansion gives the Casino resort status with a 215-room, 161,000-square-foot hotel. The hotel part of the casino is also non-smoking.

Construction on the 10-story building began nearly two years ago, and is expected to create hundreds of new jobs in the area.

During a media tour, Mark Birtha, president and chief development officer, said they are happy to be building something major in a slowed economy.

Aimed at attracting others such as Oro Valley and Marana residents who might want a night out without a long drive, the resort may be just the ticket.

“Our goal and objective is to bring new customers to the market, from Mexico and regionally,” Birtha said. “The objective is not to take away business, but to bring new business here.”

The new hotel features a new steakhouse, a lobby and lounge, and two new Starbucks’ stores, which is a major addition to the casino, located at 5655 W. Valencia Road. in Tucson.

Besides providing a resort experience for the individual, the casino, which is owned and operated by the Pasqua Yaqui Tribe, also offers 65,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space for weddings, receptions and events, including 20,000 square feet for flexible meeting and ballroom space, Birtha said.

A four-story, 1,100-car covered garage and a resort-style pool are also part of the construction.

Opening weekend not only featured the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, but also a fireworks show and headline entertainer Tim McGraw.

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