As he prepares to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his casino, Emerald Island, Tim Brooks is taking steps to opening a new property in the Water Street District.
“We have been very fortunate and blessed to be in such a great place,” Brooks said. “There are a lot of good things happening downtown.”
Agua Street Gaming, owned by Brooks and his brother Mike, has operated the casino and now plans to open an urban lounge in the Pinnacle Building, 203 S. Water St. The Henderson Redevelopment Agency authorized sale of the building to Agua Street Gaming for $510,000 at its Feb. 19 meeting. For more on the deal facilitated by the city forgiving $2.1 million in debt owed by the Redevelopment Agency, which bought the building with a $2.6 million loan from the city in November 2007, read the Las Vegas Review-Journal story at tinyurl.com/pinnacledeal.
Brooks’ journey in Henderson started in 1998 when he moved to the city to become the general manager of Club Fortune Casino.
Around 2000, he and his brother were looking for an opportunity to have a business of their own when they stumbled across a vacant building just off Water Street. Brooks said the building had a dubious past, having housed many failed casinos, but he knew it had potential.
“Everything just seemed to fall into place,” he said.
The brothers purchased the property in 2001 and opened the doors of Emerald Island Casino in 2003.
“And the rest is a blur,” Brooks said. “It was the best decision.”
If anyone would have asked Brooks during the first few years, he wouldn’t have believed that he would be hosting a 10-year celebration.
“When you’re new to a business, you encounter unexpected things,” he said. “Every business goes through its growing pains.”
But the company survived.
Brooks said in the last six years, the company has had about a 47 percent increase in revenue.
But what he is most proud of is the increase in employment. The company started with 78 employees and now has 110.
“We are proud of our ability to create jobs,” he said. “We’ve been able to increase (revenue) because of good old fashion customer service. There is no substitute.”
Brooks said the business wouldn’t have come as far without his employees.
Along the way, Emerald Island has partnered with other businesses in the Water Street District.
“About three years ago, we created our vendor partnership,” he said.
After earning points at the casino, people can now claim points at local businesses in the area.
“We started out with just three partners,” he said. “Now we have 22. They are all local vendors.”
Brooks plans to grow the Emerald Island property. He bought the building adjacent to the casino and wants to expand the casino floor.
“I would love to do it tomorrow,” he said. “But it’s whenever the banks say it’s OK.”
As he looks to expand Emerald Island, for which there is set timeline, Brooks recently purchased the Pinnacle Building.
“We want to bring more people downtown,” he said. “It’s good for all businesses.”
He and Doug Beavers, another business partner, addressed the City Council at a Redevelopment Agency meeting Feb. 19.
“Our intention is to open a business,” Beavers said. “That’s what we set out to do. That’s what we are going to do. We need new businesses to reinvigorate the downtown area.”
Transforming it into a lounge, his vision for the space is that it would be a food and beverage establishment.
“And hopefully, we will get a restricted gaming license for maybe 15 gaming devices,” he said.
Brooks’ target date is to have the place opened by the end of 2014.
He doesn’t know what the future will bring but hopes for the best.
“It’s been a fantastic 10 years,” he said. “We are anticipating another 10 but going for another 20.”
Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5201.