Throws in towel after 15-year battle
Station Casinos has placed all of its Reno property up for sale, the Reno Gazette Journal (RGJ) reported Tuesday. One area is an 88.8-acre property at the intersection of Mount Rose and Carson-Reno highways. The second property is an eight-acre site near the Reno Town Mall and Reno-Sparks Convention Center.
a saga 15 years in the making
The latter is where Station endured many setbacks in its attempt to open a casino in the Biggest Little City in the World, a saga 15 years in the making. RGJ stated the listings appeared on Commercial Real Estate Exchange’s website CREXi.com.
Business and technology reporter Jason Hidalgo tweeted the news on Tuesday:
Station’s recent decision to sell both properties has a backstory with all the twists and turns of a Shakespearean tragedy. Time and again, Station attempted to enter the Reno market, only for a combination of local resistance and economic downturns to knock it back.
In 2005, the gaming company proposed an ambitious $500m development near the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. Plans included gaming, retail projects, underground parking, and three 225 foot-high hotel towers, containing 900 rooms. The Reno City Council approved the proposal in 2006 and Station made several land purchases, including the large 88.8-acre property in south Reno.
the real estate market was hot as a pistol”
Before Station’s dreams could become reality, the 2008 recession hit. Recalling the state’s halcyon days before economic crisis, former Nevada Congresswoman Shelley Berkley said “Business was booming [. . .] the real estate market was hot as a pistol.”
Nevada was hit hard by the recession. Foreclosures flooded the market. Gaming and tourism suffered significant damage. For Station, it was time to apply the brakes, with executive vice president Scott Nielson stating then that “the project that was previously planned there [near Reno-Sparks Convention Center] is not feasible economically”.
In 2016, Station came back with a new proposal, a leaner project intended for the corner of South Virginia Street and Kietzke Lane. The gaming firm planned on a 21,000 square-foot casino space, including a sportsbook and mobile wagering kiosks. Intended to attract families to the area, the proposal also included restaurants, a movie theatre, and bowling alley.
Plans didn’t include hotel rooms, which drew criticism. John Farahi, CEO of Monarch Casino & Resort said: “All I’m saying is bring a project that brings in more tourism and enlarges the pie, which helps the whole community”.
Despite the opposition, Station’s 2016 proposal was approved by the Reno City Council. Now, however, in light of the sale listings and Station’s Las Vegas fallout from COVID-19, the gaming company’s intentions for Reno remain unclear.