agua caliente casino cathedral city

Upping the Ante

The third Agua Caliente Casino will help establish Cathedral City as a major player.

Meredith Jordan Attractions, Casinos, Current Digital

agua caliente casino cathedral city
Renderings depict the project that will occupy the northeast corner of Date Palm Drive and Highway 111 in Cathedral City.

If you’ve taken a drive down East Palm Canyon Drive through Cathedral City recently you’ve seen the construction under way on the Agua Caliente Casino Cathedral City, a new 100,000-square-foot entertainment complex expected to open within the year.

The effort to improve that area of East Palm Canyon dates back more than a decade, says Mayor Mark Carnevale, of Cathedral City. Downtown Cathedral City is a place for quality theatrical performances, blockbuster films, concerts and outdoor festivals and soon a whole new twist to the night life with the new investment by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians casino development. The relationship with the Tribe takes the future revitalization to the next level, Carnevale says.

“Having a brand new gaming and entertainment center as a major anchor to our Downtown Arts and Entertainment District will spur more interest and development, provide quality entertainment for our residents and visitors, and generate additional revenue for city services,” Carnevale says.

The casino project began in 2017 when the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians acquired 12.5 acres at the corner of East Palm Canyon Drive and Date Palm Drive to complete a 13.6 acre project site for an entertainment development project in the heart of downtown Cathedral City. As part of that agreement, the Tribe contributed $5.5 million to build a new city fire station at 68950 Buddy Rogers Ave.

Plans for the project, including regular meetings with the city, occurred over the next two years.

The Tribe will provide improved streets and infrastructure around the property as well as fund a new fire station.

“This project will create jobs, revitalize an undeveloped downtown property, and support Cathedral City’s economic development efforts,” says Tribal Chairman Jeff L. Grubbe. “We’ve had the honor of working with the city to relocate and build a new fire station that will allow fire fighters to serve city residents from a brand new state-of-the-art facility and a more desirable location.” The city has been a partner all the way, he adds.

“The project has already spurred additional interest in vacant land adjacent to this development that will transform the aesthetics of our downtown into something we can be proud of in the near future,” says Stone James, Cathedral City Economic Development director.


Interior and exterior renderings of the Cathedral City casino. To view more and witness the ongoing progress of the project, visit

The development is welcomed by existing businesses, as well. “There aren’t that many downtown areas that are still being built out, and the city is doing a great job,“ says Michael Seery, owner of Dandt’s Custom Picture Framing, which has a storefront in the Big Lots shopping center across Date Palm Drive. He’s excited for the casino to open. “It’s going to boost business for his frame store as well as the shops on Perez and other area merchants,” he says.

This story originally appeared in MeYah Whae, The Magazine of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Spring/Summer 2020. To read the current digital edition, click HERE.