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Industrial park another step closer to replacing shuttered casino

Updated March 4, 2022 - 10:33 am

A Reno developer has taken ownership of a big property south of Las Vegas with plans to demolish a closed hotel-casino and build a sprawling industrial park.

Tolles Development Co. purchased roughly 142.3 acres of real estate off Interstate 15 in Jean for $44.7 million. The sale by the Herbst family, operators of the Terrible Herbst gas station chain, closed Feb. 24, property records show.

There isn’t much in Jean, a remote outpost some 25 miles south of the Strip whose only residents are the inmates at a state prison. But as Tolles partner Cory Hunt previously said, truckers coming in from Southern California could drop off products at the industrial park and get back in a one-day round trip, and the project site already has access to utility service.

Hunt confirmed Thursday that the sale closed and that Tolles hopes to break ground on its 1.9 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution complex in about a year to a year-and-a-half.

He figures it would take three to five years to build the business park.

The site of the shuttered Terrible’s hotel-casino would comprise the last phase of the complex, said Hunt, who indicated Tolles hasn’t determined how it would bring the structure down.

Still, he noted the developers would love for a motion-picture crew to come “help us celebrate blowing it up.”

“If we do implode it, we’ll do it up Vegas style,” he said.

Clark County commissioners approved plans for the industrial park last month.

The Herbsts still have a presence in Jean, having opened a massive travel center there in 2018 that boasts 96 gas pumps and a 50,000-square-foot convenience store. It sits across the highway from the other gas station in town: a Terrible’s truck stop.

Tolles’ purchase came with restrictions that effectively prevent its property from having businesses that would compete with the Herbsts in Jean.

As outlined in the deed that recorded the sale with Clark County, the site cannot have a convenience store, grocery store, liquor store, coffee shop, car wash or vehicle-fueling or -charging facilities. It also can’t sell fuel used “for the propulsion of motorized vehicles,” including petroleum and gasoline.

Hunt said those were “terms that we all agreed to.”

Efforts to speak with a representative of the Herbst family or their company were unsuccessful Thursday.

As the Review-Journal previously reported, Jean has a cluster of government services and operations, including a small airport, courthouse, fire station and post office. Its only residents are the prisoners in Jean Conservation Camp, a state facility that houses 240 female inmates.

In 2014, MGM Resorts International reached a deal to sell the former Gold Strike hotel-casino and “related assets” in Jean to the Herbst family for $12 million. The sale closed in 2015.

The new owners launched a series of upgrades at Gold Strike and changed the name in 2018 to the Herbst family’s flagship brand. That property, however, has been closed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Warehouse developers have been on a yearslong construction spree in Southern Nevada, and business has only ramped up during the pandemic, as an accelerated shift to online shopping has fueled demand for distribution space.

Industrial development in Jean also would provide job opportunities for residents of Sandy Valley, Goodsprings and Sloan, county staff reported, pointing to tiny, remote communities outside Las Vegas.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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