Stations to dump NLV site; eyes beltway

Aug 28, 2001 4:40 AM

Shot down by neighborhood protests, Station Casinos has decided to sell its option on 33 acres of gaming property in North Las Vegas.

“We’re going to take the gaming designation off it and sell it,’’ said Glenn Christensen, executive vice president and chief financial officer. The parcel at Martin Luther King Boulevard and Craig Road, which will revert to commercial zoning, will not be considered as a future casino site, city officials say.

That’s important for Station, which is trying to shore up its customer base at Texas Station, Fiesta and Santa Fe along Rancho Drive. Since acquiring the Fiesta and Santa Fe, the three northwest properties have suffered flat or declining revenue.

But Christensen says that doesn’t mean Station won’t expand. He said the company will take a hard look at the 40-acre tract set for gaming along the new northern beltway alignment at Simmons Street. Station’s partner at the upcoming Green Valley Station, American Nevada Corp., is drawing the master plan for the North Las Vegas property, which could give the neighborhood casino company the inside track.

As a five- to 10-year development, the beltway land could fit nicely into Station’s timetable. With growth moving ever-northward, the new freeway provides a separate and distinct submarket from the Rancho corridor.

Meantime, President Lorenzo Fertitta tells GamingToday that Station has “a number of pieces of land around the valley’’ that will eventually become casino sites. Some of those parcels are located along other portions of the beltway.

Station is also eyeing the Regent at Summerlin, in the wake of a relatively low bid of $82 million. “We could end up being the stalking horse, who knows?’’ Christensen said.

Some analysts are skeptical about Station’s ability to finance new projects. But after selling off its riverboats in the Midwest, Station has returned to its roots as an exclusively Las Vegas hotelier.

The company is also keeping its hand in political issues. This month’s colorful (and bilingual) corporate newsletter displays maps of proposed routes for hauling high-level nuclear waste into Nevada.

As the newsletter states: “The transport and storage of nuclear waste in Southern Nevada creates deadly and long-term economic risks.’’ One of the routes, incidentally, is along the northern beltway.