The Gila River Indian Community dropped its plans Friday for a casino and resort project near Gilbert Road and Hunt Highway.
The community will instead build the $60 million, 120,000-square-foot facility on reservation land at the southeast corner of Kyrene Road and the Santan Loop 202 Freeway.
Gila River officials are looking to relocate the community’s Lone Butte Casino on 56th Street, just south of the freeway, as part of a larger plan to move the community’s Wild Horse Pass Casino closer to Interstate 10.
The state’s gaming compact with the community requires casinos to be at least 1.5 miles apart.
Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn called Friday’s decision “a step in the right direction” for both the Gila River community and his city. Residents in south Chandler, especially those living near Hunt Highway, have vocally opposed the project, claiming a casino would bring more crime, traffic and drunken drivers to their neighborhoods.
“I’m just thrilled today that they made such a great decision,” said Chandler resident Ursula Johnston, who lives in a subdivision near the former site.
The new location, situated among a handful of heavy industrial facilities, already has the appropriate zoning and needed infrastructure for a casino, Gila River spokeswoman Alia Maisonet said.
Several Gila River community members and Chandler residents, and even the community’s acting economic development director, spoke out against the Hunt Highway location during a May public hearing before the planning and zoning commission.
A timeline for the relocated project was not available Friday evening.