Viejas Casino Hotel prepares for opening

'Topping Off' ceremony held Tuesday

SAN DIEGO - About 100 people gathered Tuesday to celebrate the final stages of construction at the new Viejas Casino Hotel.

Tribal members and hotel executives revealed the last beam in a "topping off" ceremony, which symbolizes the near completion of a project.

The hotel is a $36 million project, complete with 128 rooms. Executives said it is about more than a building, but creating jobs for the local economy.

"This hotel began as a hope that became a dream, that became an engine for building jobs, for building partnerships, for building progress," said Chris Kelley, the general manager of Viejas Casino. "That goal became reality."

More than 400 people were hired for the construction phase of the hotel. Sixty people will be hired to help run the hotel once it is open.

The hotel's opening is set for March 2013.

While some local Indian casinos are thriving, others are not. The La Posta Casino in Boulevard shut its doors at the end of October, citing the "current financial situation." It was only in business for five years.

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