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Opening of Durango resort delayed in southwest valley

Updated November 7, 2023 - 7:13 pm

Red Rock Resorts is delaying the opening of its new Durango property to Dec. 5, the company said Tuesday in its third-quarter earnings call.

The company previously planned to open the casino-resort located in southwest Las Vegas on Nov. 20, but executives said some areas of the property weren’t ready in time to properly train staff members to provide the level of service it wanted to for guests. That’s especially important as most of them will be Las Vegas Valley residents whom they want to return, they said.

“We continue to prepare for our scheduled opening of our Durango resort, which we’ve now moved to Dec. 5 in order to ensure a first-class opening of the resort,” Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Stephen Cootey said in prepared remarks during the call.

In response to an investor’s question, Red Rock Resorts board Director Lorenzo Fertitta said because most of Durango’s customers would be locals that visit regularly and not tourists who might only be there once, the company decided they wanted the property to be “at the highest quality it can be” when it opened.

“Relative to moving back the day, the reality is you try to predict when a lot of these areas are going to be handed over, and as of right now, when we started to look at the calendar, certain areas that are critical to the opening were not turned over in the time we originally anticipated, which in turn we didn’t feel gave us enough time to properly train our staff and our team members in-venue to be able to have the appropriate load-in days and play days,” Fertitta said.

“Our operations are a little bit different from the Strip in the sense that we’re primarily a locals property and we’re going to obviously have a lot of repeat customers,” he said. “This isn’t where we’re going to see a new face every day. For me and Frank (Fertitta III, chairman and CEO), the most important thing is that the level of service on the day that we open is at the highest quality it can be.”

Red Rock Resorts said in a later statement that Durango employees will be compensated for salaries and tips for the period the company had expected the property to be open.

In addition, hotel guests with reservations between Nov. 20 and Dec. 5 will be given priority booking for future dates at the property or will be offered to be rebooked at a sister Station property. Visitors with restaurant reservations will be contacted to rebook at a sister Station property or for a future date at a Durango restaurant.

Cootey said the budget to build Durango would stay within 5 percent of the $780 million the company has allocated for the project despite the delayed opening.

He said it hasn’t been determined what the company’s next capital project would be — developing an expansion of Durango or beginning development of its planned Inspirada project in the Seven Hills area.

He said closing of the sale of the land that formerly housed Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho in North Las Vegas is expected to occur by the end of the year. No other details of the transaction were disclosed.

Rates for F1, Super Bowl

During the conference call, executives said while room rates have declined in Las Vegas since early marketing of the Formula One Las Vegas Grand Prix, the event will still be successful, especially for Strip resorts.

“I think we kind of know that sports works in the town,” Frank Fertitta said. “Vegas has become a sports town, and whether that’s NFL or hockey or any other professional sport coming to town, we’re seeing that it’s got great success. It’s probably a little less complex than the equation of F1. We haven’t seen F1 come into the city or what the impact is.”

Executives said they expect better results when the Super Bowl is played in February at Allegiant Stadium, thanks to a more than 50-year history of the game being played while it’s a first-time event for Formula One.

For the third quarter, which ended Sept. 30, Station Casinos’ parent company reported net income of $68.4 million, 60 cents a share, on revenue of $411.6 million – the third-best revenue quarter in the company’s history.

Red Rock Resorts shares, traded on the Nasdaq exchange, on Tuesday closed down 16 cents, 0.4 percent, to $41.72 a share on volume nearly twice the daily average. After-hours trades gained that back, ending at around $41.89 a share.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on X.

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