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Station Casinos to demolish 3 closed properties, sell land

Three Station Casinos properties — Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson — will be permanently closed, demolished and the land beneath them sold, the company said Friday.

A total of 107.5 acres are involved in the three land sales. It’s unlikely that casinos would be built on any of the parcels.

Representatives of parent company Red Rock Resorts said it didn’t make financial sense for the three properties, shuttered since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic began, to remain open.

The company said most of the closed casinos’ customer bases have since migrated to other Station properties. Customers of Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho, located at Lake Mead Boulevard and Rancho Drive in North Las Vegas, have moved on to Santa Fe Station to the northwest and to a Wildfire casino operation just south of Lake Mead Boulevard, while those patronizing Fiesta Henderson have moved to Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch, both in Henderson.

In an exclusive interview with the Review-Journal, Station Casinos President Scott Kreeger said proceeds from the sale of the three properties would be used to reinvest in company projects and potentially develop a new casino in North Las Vegas.

New North Las Vegas resort

“We’re working with the city of North Las Vegas on a potential development site for another large-scale casino resort,” Kreeger said. “We also are very interested in the tavern and small nonrestricted space, and we have some investment plans in regard to that in North Las Vegas as well.”

Regarding Henderson, Kreeger noted the company has a majority of properties there and a “great” relationship with the city.

“And we love the dynamic nature of that city,” he said. “Not only do we have the Inspirada site, which we’re actively working through the entitlements and development processes there, but we also are investing quite substantial amounts of money in a rejuvenation and renovation at Sunset Station and also an offering of several new restaurant and gaming amenities at Green Valley Ranch.”

In an earlier Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the company said its vast land holdings include 58 acres at Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive in Summerlin; 57 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue south of the Strip; 47 acres in Skye Canyon in the upper northwest valley; and 45 acres in Inspirada at the southern tip of the valley.

In North Las Vegas, Kreeger said the company is negotiating with city officials on a project in a pre-approved gaming enterprise district. He did not disclose the location of the site, saying details would come in the future, but a North Las Vegas map identifying the city’s several gaming enterprise districts shows a large parcel at Losee Road and the 215 Beltway, about 3 miles east of the rival Boyd Gaming Corp.-operated Aliante casino and about 3 miles north of Boyd’s Cannery.

Station also is building the large-scale $750 million Durango Hotel & Casino at the 215 Beltway and Durango Drive in southwest Las Vegas and earlier this month began work on a new tavern project in downtown Las Vegas, a Wildfire casino on Fremont Street just south of Charleston Boulevard. That one-story project would span more than 21,000 square feet and sit on a 5-acre plot of land, according to Las Vegas city records.

Economic and strategic

Kreeger said the decision to close Texas Station and the Fiestas was purely economic and strategic.

“Even before the pandemic, they were our worst-performing properties,” Kreeger said. “Post-pandemic, at least where we are today, we don’t see that it’s viable to reopen those properties for a couple of reasons. The majority of our loyal customers migrated to our other facilities, and we captured about 90 percent of that overall play. So these properties, to some degree, became duplicative. ”

Kreeger said the company believes that an alternative use for that land would benefit the community and the cities of North Las Vegas and Henderson by diversifying the overall use of the land.

“It’s not that we’re leaving either city. It’s that we’d like to continue to invest in our existing properties within those cities and also to explore new build opportunities in both areas,” he said. “That capital would be redirected to new development projects that would create jobs and new amenities for our customers in different locations within the same cities.”

Asked if Station would be open to keeping any of the buildings intact if another gaming company came calling, Kreeger said, “I think by the nature of our business, we’d prefer to see some alternative use there.

Such a move would take “consideration and it would depend on certain circumstances,” he added. “I think what we’re most concerned about is that those valuable pieces of land are used to further grow the economic development of the areas they’re in.”

Difficult decision

Kreeger said the decision to permanently close the operations was difficult.

“These properties have been an important part of our business over many years, so it is not without sadness that we announce these permanent closures,” he said. “We would like to recognize and thank our former team members who worked at these properties for making them a place where our guests always felt welcome. We are pleased that approximately one-third of the team members from each of these three properties are already working at another Station Casinos property, and we hope that number will grow. We also want to thank our loyal guests for their support.”

Kreeger said one amenity at Fiesta Rancho — the 31,000-square-foot, 1,400-seat Pepsi Ice Arena — would not be demolished and would remain available to the public as long as Station owns the property. Because the arena is in a separate building at Fiesta Rancho, the company, viewing the rink as a popular neighborhood amenity, can demolish everything but the arena and continue to employ those who work there.

Only a minimal number of employees are still working at the three properties, most of them in security and building maintenance roles, Kreeger said. As soon as the buildings are demolished, he said workers would be transferred to other Station properties if they choose to change.

The three properties had employed a total of 1,748 employees, and one-third of them immediately transferred to other Station properties when they closed. The rest either took other jobs or moved away and Station has held numerous job fairs to place them in new positions.

The closures were announced to employees in an emailed message to workers Friday morning.

“We are announcing today that we have decided to permanently close our Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson properties,” Kreeger said in his letter. “Each of these properties has been closed since the beginning of the pandemic. Given the post-reopening success of our open properties — thanks to your efforts, including the warm welcome you have provided our guests from the closed resorts — it does not make sense to try to reopen these properties.”

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

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