By Abner Galino
CALIFORNIA Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday led the unveiling of the Bicycle Hotel and Casino in the City of Bell Gardens which has been infused with fresh capital to convert it into a fabulous place for events and relaxation rather than just a place to gamble.
The seven-storey, 99-room Bicycle Hotel and Casino will open its doors on December 1 with its 185 tables of poker and other card games still intact but offering more to clients.
It will have an outdoor pool deck with private cabanas, a spa and sauna, a fitness center and 9,000 square feet of space for conventions and banquets. Its restaurant, the Bike Brewery, will feature 28 beer taps that includes a blonde ale created just for the hotel clientele.
“It is important to realize that the economy and the production of jobs come from many different ways, not just from economic plans from the government or from the city, its taking up from people – people putting up their money and the money they can borrow and putting it at risks for having a vision or something,” Gov. Brown said during a brief speech before ceremonial cutting of the ribbon.
The California governor took the opportunity to belie perceptions that Texas was “having all the jobs.”
“It’s not true. California is now producing jobs faster than the nation as a whole,” Brown claimed.
Before the California governor arrived, tension momentarily gripped the area when a group of protesters picketed in front of the hotel. The group carried placards and an effigy of Gov. Brown.
Weekend Balita learned that the picket had nothing to do with the opening of the hotel and casino but on a long-standing community issue regarding a closed down factory that left pollutants in the neighborhood.
The picketers were demanding action from governor, who they claimed, did not do enough to address the problem.
Weekend Balita was not able to get Brown’s reaction on the issue as the governor quickly left after the ceremonies.
City of Bell Gardens Mayor Jennifer Rodriguez and Assemblymember Cristina Garcia led the group of local officials and the hundreds of guests from the community who joined the unveiling event.
The Bell Gardens Honor Guard started the ceremony through the customary presentation of colors. It was later followed by a grand entrance of motorcycles driven by tuxedo dressed bikers. Each of these bikers had beautiful backrider models who were dressed in sequin gowns. The bikes converged in front of the stage and the models displayed oversized playing cards that spelled the word: Bicycle.
The Bicycle Hotel and Casino said the new hotel was built by the R.D Olson Construction through the architecture by Lee & Sakahara and interior design layouts by Hager Design International.
The hotel takes pride in its plush king and queen-size beds that are complemented by “California-inspired furnishing and lavish bath amenities.”
In their website, the Bicycle Hotel and Casino says that for guests seeking “premium accommodations, 29 luxury suites will range from the Classic Suite (648 sq. ft.), the signature Bike Suite (904 sq. ft.), the extravagantly curated Governor’s Suite (1,359 sq. ft.), and a Presidential Suite (2,007 sq. ft.) fashioned to host and impress with its two bedrooms, formal living room, and Jacuzzi tub.”
Other food options include the Coffee House, a 24-hour Snack Bar, and in-room dining.
“Today was one of the most exciting days for all of us here at The Bicycle Hotel & Casino, and for the city of Bell Gardens. This is truly a dream realized and we look forward to welcoming our first guest in just a few short weeks on Dec. 1,” explains Managing General Partner & CEO Hashem Minaiy.
“Hashem and I set out to not only build a beautiful hotel for our guests, but a great property that can be shared with and enjoyed by everyone in the community. Having the Governor, city officials and all of our guests here to see the hotel for the first time made this a most memorable day,” adds Robert H. Carter, president of Carter Management Group.
The $50-million hotel has been under construction since 2013 on a land previously used for parking.
The Bicycle Casino has had a long and colorful history in Bell Gardens. The federal government took over part ownership of the casino in 1991 after a jury found that $12 million of the $22 million used in its construction came from Florida drug smugglers.
Five years later, the federal government sold its share of the casino to a large British gambling company. The casino is now privately owned by the Bicycle Hotel & Casino LLC.