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The Pueblo of Pojoaque Breaks Ground on a $220 million Destination Resort -
The Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort
By Shannon Shaw, The Santa Fe New MexicanMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

Jan. 3, 2006 - The Pueblo of Pojoaque is ready this month to break ground on its $220 million Hilton Buffalo Thunder Resort, and construction is expected to be finished in 2008.

A specific day has not been set for construction to begin, said Pojoaque Tribal Judge Frank Demolli, but that day will be decided soon.

"The beginning of construction is the result of years of planning and investment by the Pueblo of Pojoaque," the pueblo's Gov. George Rivera said. The resort will mean the addition of approximately 600 new jobs, he said.

The new Buffalo Thunder Resort will be located on U.S. 84/285 on a 587-acre site that is home to the Towa Golf Course.

The site is adjacent to the 81-room Homewood Suites by Hilton that is owned and operated by the pueblo.

"Buffalo Thunder, the name of the new resort, was chosen because it is a symbol of spiritual strength for Native Americans," Rivera said.

Buffalo Thunder will be designed as a four-star destination resort and will include a 390-room hotel, 66,000 square feet of meeting space and a 1,200-seat ballroom.

There also will be a 16,000-squarefoot Native American themed spa/ salon and exercise facility, a 12,700 square-foot retail promenade, an 8,000-square-foot children's recreation area and a 100-seat outdoor performancespace. The Las Vegas-style casino, to be operated by the Pueblo of Pojoaque's new corporation, Buffalo Thunder Inc., will be 151,000 square feet with 1,200 slot machines, 25 table games, a horse- and dog-racing simulcast wagering area and a 10-table poker room.

Architects for the project are Thalden-Boyd of Tulsa, Okla., a firm specializing in Native American casino design. The destination resort will be built in the traditional Pueblo style.

The Centex Corporation of Dallas is the contractor for the project and, under a directive from the pueblo, will be using local contractors and local labor as much as possible.

Hiring for the resort is months away, but employee training will be conducted by Hilton. The Pueblo of Pojoaque also will use the training services of Northern New Mexico College in Espanola, Rivera added.

The Pueblo of Pojoaque currently owns and operates two casinos, two hotels, an apartment complex, a supermarketand various other businesses all located on tribal land.

Contact Shannon Shaw at 995-3837 or

Employee training will be conducted by Hilton. The pueblo also will use the services of Northern New Mexico College in Espanola.


Copyright (c) 2007, The Santa Fe New Mexican

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