Tule River Tribe introduces HBG Design as Architect & Interior Designer for new Eagle Mountain Casino

See full article in The Porterville Recorder

After breaking ground for its new casino located in Porterville last week, Eagle Mountain Casino is fast moving forward with the development of the casino.

The relocation of the casino to 40 acres of land located just south and adjacent to the Porterville Sports Complex has been 25 years in the making. The new casino will feature 1,750 slot machines, numerous table games, a 2,000-seat event center and restaurants throughout the 100,000 square foot property.

The relocation of the casino will free up water now being used by the casino for tribal members. The current casino will also eventually be used for additional medical facilities.

Nearly 200 people attended the groundbreaking including the Tule River Tribal Council, tribal members, Eagle Mountain Casino staff and many local dignitaries and political leaders. The ceremony began with a welcome from General Manager, Matthew Mingrone, followed by the presentation of colors by the Tule River Native Veterans Post of 1987 and a prayer and song by Tribal Elders J.R. Manuel, Rhoda Hunter and Tamara Seylaz.

Honorable Tribal Speakers included: Tule River Chairman William Garfield, Vice-Chairman Neil Peyron, Councilman Felix Christman and Executive Director and Project Manager Ralene Clower. Honored Speakers included Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Senator Alex Padilla, Senator Shannon Grove, Assemblyman Devon Mathis, District Attorney Tim Ward, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Porterville City Mayor Monte Reyes, National Indian Gaming Chairman Ernie Stevens, and Bureau of Indian Affairs Regional Director Amy Dutschke.

Tule River Tribal Vice Chairman Neil Peyron said during the ceremony, “This casino has been a long time coming. It's more than just a casino. This is education for our children, housing for our elders, and medical care for members of the tribe," Peyron said.

Boudreaux also announced at the groundbreaking the Tulare County Sheriff's Office would be the agency providing law enforcement for the casino.

Design Firm HBG Design and Construction firm W.E. O-Neil were the firms chosen by the tribe as construction begins this month.

HBG Design clients across the U.S. include more than 45 Indian gaming enterprises, and Commercial hospitality and entertainment giants such as Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt Hotels, Hilton Hotels and Elvis Presley Enterprises. HBG Design was recognized as an Associate Member of the Year by the National Indian Gaming Association for its support of Indian gaming tribes and Native American education programs. Visit www.hbg.design for more information.

HBG's Joe Baraffaldi said the new casino's design will include Tule River heritage. The Sequoia tree canopy, trunk and roots of the Giant Sequoias are a main conceptual design of the casino.

Baraffaldi said the Tule Tribe has been receptive to incorporating all of Tulare County's and Central California's cultural elements into the design. Artwork of the Tule River Tribe's native traditions will also be featured.

“Soaring vertical features will recall the majesty of the Giant Sequoia and the Golden Eagle,” Baraffaldi said, adding the Tule River will also be featured in the design.

A variety of tribal basket patterning will also be featured.

“Patterns and motifs of tribal symbolism will help draw guests through wayfinding paths, to the casino, the center bar, the dining venues and to ancillary spaces,” Baraffaldi said.

The Flight of the Butterfly will be featured at the entry and a mountain silhouette design that emulates the regional landscape will also be featured. The center bar will symbolize the idea of the fire as a place of gathering.

Casino guests will be welcomed with water features and a replica of the iconic tribal Painted Rock and Bigfoot pictographs found on Tule River Reservation lands.

The casino will feature a sports bar, food court and steak restaurant. With COVID safety measure in mind, instead of a buffet the casino will also feature a three-meal restaurant.

“We were able to create a new dining concept that will be even more comfortable and welcoming for patrons,” Baraffaldi said.

There's also been a investment in a premium air system. “The new casino is clean and safe for guests,” Baraffaldi said. “There are more robust safety elements designed into the new facility versus what an existing casino could provide.”

The casino is expected to open in December, 2022.


MBJ SWOT: HBG Design's innovation could pay dividends for its clients after COVID is over

See full article in Memphis Business Journal

by: Susan Ellis

Local economies are no different from organizations when it comes to taking stock of their ability to grow, innovate and thrive in lockstep with the times. Much depends on talent within: the employees of companies and nonprofits, the entrepreneurs who define a business community. But a lot also rides on the unique mix of ingredients that both define the local economy in question and play an outsize role in its success in navigating change or crisis. The SWOT analysis is nothing new for anyone familiar with business-school dogma, though its application to our small business community — as it rebounds from a pandemic — is probably a first.  What follows is a breakdown of the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats working for or against the region’s small-business owners as they climb back from one of the most economically and socially disruptive events in modern times.

MBJ SWOT: Weakness: Solutions when ‘all in’ might mean betting your life

One point the pandemic proved over and over again: The human body and economy are both highly susceptible to dramatic external forces like contagions, and the health and well-being of the first is inextricably linked to the ultimate success of the latter. When COVID started, Memphis-based HBG Design hit the drawing board to create solutions for its clients in the hospitality industry, whose revenue depended on the safety and confidence of customers. Their resulting innovation, Safebet, could continue to pay dividends long after COVID is gone.

HBG Design

Rick Gardner of the architecture/design firm HBG Design considers himself a “creative problem solver.”

So, when the pandemic hit, he assigned his team to answer two questions: How will this pandemic affect business? And, how will it affect the way they approach design?

HBG specializes in work in the hospitality sector. Past projects include the Guest House at Graceland in Memphis and the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino in Arizona.

“We zeroed in on specific solutions,” he said. “We asked ourselves a very specific question that became the mission statement for Safebet: How do we make sitting on a stool in front of the slot machine the safest place on the gaming floor?”

Since games on the casino floor are often rearranged, the Safebet system is designed to work on all sorts of configurations — rows, carousel, and trios.

“The reason we zeroed in on [slot machines] as opposed to other places in the casinos is the slot revenue is the engine that drives resorts,” Gardner said.

In designing Safebet, HBG also considered user experience.

“Most people are uncomfortable with the way things were before the pandemic, sitting down next to a stranger in close proximity,” he said.

He noted that the walls can be removed for guests who want to play together on the machines.

HBG hooked up with manufacturing firm KGM Gaming to make the components of Safebet. That firm will also do the sales and marketing, while HBG will focus on R&D.

Gardner said there may be other applications for Safebet as well.

“We’ve focused first on the gaming side of things, but we’re looking at dining rooms for restaurants,” he said.

Gardner said that while many restaurants already use plexiglass, he envisions bringing that to a more “sophisticated” level. He pictures Safebet in convention centers and resorts. The average slot machine costs $20,000, Gardner said, with large casinos having roughly 1,500, for a total expenditure of $30 million. Something like Safebet could be a smart investment — not just for now but for the future.

“We’ve had all kinds of viruses and pandemics in the past 20 years — SARS, MERS, and all that stuff. And they came and went,” Gardner said. “But, [COVID-19] has affected us much differently. It’s been imprinted in our psyche. We’re not going to forget it. What we all know now is that there’s going to be something next.”


GGB Magazine Spotlights SAFEBET: An Industry Game-Changer During COVID and Beyond

See Full Article in Global Gaming Business Magazine

Here’s a new twist on safety in numbers.

For the casino world, it means that without safety, there are no numbers. The gaming industry, aided by sharp vendors, enters a safety age exceeding hand-sanitizing stations, Plexiglas shields and social-distance markers.

At relatively breakneck speed, vendors have unearthed products integrating safety and finance. The advancements look so creative they may also help the country leave the Covid-19 era. Other innovations are psychological, as in the engagement between companies and patrons via social casinos and their marketing vehicles.

Once the Covid-19 era recedes—and it will—analysts may recall this time as the industry embracing unprecedented ingenuity.

Bet on Safety

HBG Design is well-known for building great structures, but when the pandemic hit, the company geared efforts toward protecting them.

Enter SafeBet, a solution geared to the epicenter of the casino economic engine, the slot floor. From a health standpoint, it’s almost a luxury super box.

A Plexiglas component, which can help prevent someone from being sneezed upon, is joined by an air-filtration system that catches small droplets. There are also partitions between stations. A player can be in the middle of the action while retaining personal space.

Rick Gardner, AIA, CEO, principal and practice leader for HBG, says the company began designing this solution last April, as the pandemic was closing casinos and halting projects. Its solution targets both the current and perceived post-pandemic environments.

“We immediately started thinking about making casino gaming safe in the face of Covid-19, but a few months into the spring we quickly realized this is a different kind of pandemic, with a lasting impact unlike anything the world has experienced before,” Gardner asserts.

“I’m an optimist at heart, but there will be something else post-Covid affecting public health even after we get vaccines in arms and achieve herd immunity. Even if we’re just talking about the human psyche, we are forever changed. Will anyone want to sit shoulder-to-shoulder at a slot bank ever again? We don’t think so. Human behavior pre-Covid already favored physical separation between individuals.”

Why not embrace it? The safety measures enable people to play, but the concept can also be used for exclusivity, especially for high-limit games. Any operator able to manage this may turn survival into revival.

Here’s how it works:

Air from the indoor casino environment enters SafeBet through the intake grill, designed low to draw less smoke-laden air than air found in the upper reaches of a typical casino floor. As the indoor casino air enters the SafeBet intake grill, it is propelled by a recirculating fan through a patent-pending, ultraviolet-C lamp fixture custom-designed for SafeBet.

The indoor air is cleaned via two proven filtration systems. They are UVC radiation, designed to kill any viruses, bacteria or mold spores by exposure to ultraviolet light; and needle point bipolar ionization, which attracts air particulates like a magnet, stopping them in their tracks before proceeding to the supply air in the breathing zone.

The distribution of ionized air is introduced evenly into the breathing zone at a low velocity into the SafeBet station at the approximate height of an average person’s head/nose/mouth, providing a clean, particulate-free air supply to the guest.

“I think one of the key differentiators of SafeBet as a Covid product is that it’s not what you typically think of first,” Gardner says. “When I think of Covid products, my mind goes to jumbo-size hand sanitizer pumps, face masks, washing hands, etc., more in the PPE realm. I also think about the Plexiglas partitions that were initially installed as temporary fixes.

“So, when I think of SafeBet as a Covid product, it represents more of a design enhancement that solves customer safety challenges, but you honestly can’t even tell it’s a Covid product. That’s part of the beauty and ingenuity of it.”

Gardner says HBG wanted to create a long-term solution to innovate, adapt, research, design and build a product that not only addressed the critical needs of its customers now, but anticipated the future.

Gardner says SafeBet will be a difference-maker between casinos. HBG is collaborating with its manufacturing and distribution partner, KGM Gaming of Philadelphia, to take the product to the market, initially through existing casino clients who represent first adopters. A prototype is available to explore and experience in KGM’s Philadelphia showroom.

HBG expects to have initial installations in place in the first quarter of 2021.

“Casino customers have a choice in where they want to go and play, and by and large they gravitate to slot machines,” he says. “When a customer experiences the choice of gaming in a SafeBet station, we believe their time on machine will actually increase, and the stations themselves will generate more play.”

 


Graceland's Chapel in the Woods receives Merit Award from AIA Memphis

HBG Design received the AIA Merit Award from the AIA Memphis Chapter for Graceland's Chapel in the Woods in Memphis, Tennessee.

Just under 2,600 square feet, this quaint chapel represents the down-to-earth side of Elvis, who was raised in small-town Tupelo, Mississippi. An ode to rural church design, the humble chapel’s shotgun framework makes nature the main showcase, outside and in.

This quaint chapel, accessed only by a scenic walking path, sits among trees and gardens not far from Elvis Presley’s Graceland© Mansion and new resort experience in Memphis, Tennessee.

Inspired by Elvis’ childhood home in Tupelo, Mississippi, a simple shotgun style, the modest structure is a distinct contrast from the legendary performer’s famous 1970s mansion. And that was intentional. Elvis is not only an international music icon, but he is known for his true ‘rags to riches’ story from his humble beginnings as a small-town boy with gospel roots. Designers considered this duality and the Owner’s vision for “a small rustic country chapel” when creating the design.

Through the steep gabled entryway, three elevations of glass windows frame views to the surrounding trees, giving the serene perception of being married in the woods. White horizontal exterior siding wraps around the exterior façade moving through into the interior walls to connect exterior and interior design elements. The light siding is contrasted with rich, rustic wooden beams, columns and interior siding, softened by the varying hues of green plantings outside. Clean architectural details provide reveals and relief on all surfaces. Large dramatic trusses in the main chapel bring a touch of complexity to the otherwise simple shotgun chapel typology.

The chapel purposely presents a straightforward organization of space – with rooms for the bride and groom, traditional wooden pews and an outdoor reception space – remaining true to the duality that was Elvis Presley.

To find out more about the project and project team, you can view the award submittal at AIA Memphis.


The Star Luxury Apartments receives Honor Award from AIA Memphis

HBG Design received the AIA Honor Award from the AIA Memphis Chapter for the restoration and revitalization of The Star Luxury Apartments at the Historic Texaco Building in downtown Houston, Texas. To find out more about the project and project team, you can view the award submittal at AIA Memphis.

Designers undertook a vigorous restoration and revitalization effort to convert a long-abandoned, century-old landmark headquarters as a stunning 17-story mixed-use multi-family tower, reconnecting it to the urban fabric as a focal point for downtown Houston’s live-work-play vision.

After oil giant Texaco moved out of its downtown Houston location in 1989, the historic, century-old office building stood vacant for more than twenty years waiting for its next purpose. Engaged by a local developer with plans to reshape the desolate building into a luxury apartment community, designers had a large task ahead of them. Originally designed in Renaissance Revival style with Beaux-Arts accents, The Star incorporates an initial, 13-story structure that opened in 1915, with an addition added in 1938 and a 16-story addition added in 1958. Though mostly gutted over its 30 years of non-use, sitting in dilapidated condition in the heart of central downtown, many historically-significant features were judged to be restorable. Designers worked hand-in-hand with historic regulatory agencies through extensive approval processes in the preservation and sourcing of similar materials to match the original design intent of the building. Creative design by the architects altered the building layout from an office floor plate to apartment units. To accommodate the new use, the team designed an L-shaped 66,000 square foot addition to the back side of the historic building, increasing the overall dimension of the upper floors. This solution was able to increase density and create more efficient use of the land, while maintaining historic integrity.

 


HBG Design named a Rising Giant by Interior Design Magazine

HBG Design's interior design team has been named a Rising Giant in the 2020 ID Rising Giants list by Interior Design Magazine. To see the full list visit Interior Design Magazine. 

 

 


HBG Design Named Top Workplace for 6th Consecutive Year

HBG Design has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2020 honor by The Commercial Appeal. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology partner Energage, LLC. The anonymous survey uniquely measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures that are critical to the success of any organization: including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few.

This year HBG Design was also recognized as THE top workplace for outstanding benefits.  This is the second time HBG has been singled out for the strength of the firm's benefits with this special Top Workplace award.

"To be awarded this honor by you – our employees – for the sixth time in a row speaks volumes about the strength of our culture and our future," said Terri Struminger, COO at HBG Design, as she addressed staff at the annual State of the Firm event.

To see more visit The Commercial Appeal. 

 


HBG Design Talks Sportsbook Design in Casino Design Magazine

See full article in Casino Design Magazine. 

Sportsbooks are the new hot item in casinos, so how do you design a sportsbook that competes, but also compliments your app?

https://issuu.com/globalgamingbusiness/docs/casino_20style_20magazine_202020/34