Vacation Village on the block

Nov 20, 2001 7:43 AM

The 315-room Vacation Village is on the auction block. And bidders will have a big say on whether the resort stays open or shuts its doors.

The south Strip hotel-casino, which filed for bankruptcy protection after defaulting on a $19 million loan, was to go under the gavel Tuesday. Nelson Auctioneering is conducting the sale; no minimum bid was set.

Hundreds of units of gaming equipment ”” including devices from International Game Technology and Casino Data Systems ”” will be sold in a separate bidding contest to follow, said Aleda Nelson.

But state regulators say the 10-year-old casino could remain open if the current owner, the Heers family, agrees to continue operations until a new licensee can assume control. Leroy’s operates a sports book at the property through a lease agreement.

“Nothing ends on Tuesday,’’ said Keith Copher, enforcement officer for the Gaming Control Board. “It will remain open at least until a sale goes through.’’

Despite its financial woes, the hotel-casino could be a bargain. In addition to its 190,000-square-foot hotel-casino floorplan, Vacation Village has zoning approval from the county to put up a 652-room addition and a parking garage. The expansion is limited to three stories because of its proximity to McCarran Airport.

“The property is worth $10 to $12 million, max,’’ one south Strip casino operator told GamingToday. “No major player wants it because there’s plenty of other land down there.’’

Last week, the Heers family’s last-minute window for recapitalizing the property slammed shut with no financing deal reached.

Potentially complicating the picture, Vacation Village has been in a legal dispute with the Nevada Department of Transportation on a 15-acre parcel between Sunset Road and the hotel. The resort and NDOT are wrangling over ownership.