Operators to expand ‘locals’ casinos

May 24, 2005 2:28 AM

The two major operators of "neighborhood" casinos in Las Vegas are so encouraged by market conditions that they are pushing their development plans ahead of schedule.

At topping-off ceremonies last week, Boyd Gaming officials announced they would expand South Coast Hotel & Casino, which is scheduled for completion in early 2006.

Not to be outdone, Station Casinos also announced expansions at Red Rock Resort, Santa Fe Station and Fiesta Henderson.

When completed next year, South Coast is expected to become Coast Casinos’ (now a division of Boyd Gaming) flagship property.

"South Coast will be an important part of the South Las Vegas area and we can’t wait for construction to be complete," said Michael Gaughan Jr., Coast Casinos vice president and general manager.

Originally slated for 650 hotel rooms, Gaughan said the hotel will add about 700 rooms, bringing the total to 1,350. Also to be added are a spa and fitness center.

The finished $600 million resort will feature most of the gaming and entertainment amenities found at other Coast properties such as the Suncoast and Orleans, including a 16-screen movie theater complex, 64-lane bowling center, race and sports book and six restaurants.

South Coast will also feature an 80,000-square-foot casino, as well as 150,000 square-feet of convention and meeting space.

Unique to the new resort at the extreme south end of the Strip will be a state-of-the-art equestrian center designed to be one of the most up-to-date indoor horse facilities in North America.

Station casinos is also expanding a project that is currently under construction — Red Rock Resort.

"Based on extremely favorable supply-demand characteristics of the Las Vegas locals market, we have decided to accelerate both the development of master planned expansions at our existing properties and the development of new properties," said Lorenzo Fertitta, Station vice chairman and president.

Fertitta cited the burgeoning northwest portion of the Las Vegas Valley and its increasing demand on existing casinos as reasons to expand Santa Fe Station. Among the additions are a 2,900-space parking garage, a 500-seat buffet, 400 additional slot machines, a remodeled and expanded race and sports book, a new casino bar and a 15,000-square-foot meeting and banquet facility.

Construction of the new amenities is scheduled to begin in August, with completion expected in September 2006, Fertitta said.

Station also plans to upgrade the amenities at Fiesta Henderson.

"This portion of Henderson is also growing very quickly and this expansion will allow us to meet the market demand," Fertitta said.

The Fiesta expansion will include a 1,500-space parking garage, 350 additional slot machines, a remodeled and expanded race and sports book and a 12-screen movie theater complex. Construction should begin in a few weeks with completion scheduled for June 2006.