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Start of construction on Durango Station depends on economy

The 70-acre lot at Durango Drive just south of the Las Vegas Beltway slotted for Durango Station will continue to sit empty for who knows how long.

Station Casinos Inc. told a crowd at a public meeting in July that it planned to break ground on Durango Station next year with an opening in 2011 if market conditions held steady. The bottom dropped out of most hotel-casinos’ profits over the two months that followed to slow Station Casinos’ plans.

"At the time, the plans were pending current economic conditions, and obviously, there was a real change and everyone, including for Station Casinos, felt it," Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said. "Now is not the time for new development."

A combination of the economic downturn and a lack of financing triggered the company to pull away a definite date for Durango Station, she added. The company reported a loss of $23.4 million for the third quarter ending Sept. 30.

Once the company goes forward with Durango Station, its first phase will include a 201-room hotel tower, casino, pool, restaurants, movie theater and arcade, plus a 190,000-square-foot outdoor retail center similar to The District at Green Valley Ranch. The second phase will include an additional 525 hotel rooms.

The local casino company purchased the Durango site eight years ago. It is one of nine vacant lots that Station Casinos owns for potential casino sites. The company’s property includes a parcel on Boulder Highway, one at Cactus Avenue and Interstate 15, another at Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive and two sites in Reno.

When the time is right, Station Casinos will start building, Nelson said.

Timber Brown, who lives near the Durango site, is eager for a hotel-casino in southwest Las Vegas, where most every home and building is new.

"I think it’d bring more people down here and bring in more jobs," he said. "There’s not much out here now. It’d be a good landmark for this part of town."

Locals will support another Station casino, said George Pativate, who also lives near the site.

"Stations are more than just casinos," he said. "I like that they have movies, restaurants and entertainment, and they’re open all the time. We don’t have that down here right now."

Station Casinos opened its $662 million hotel-casino, Aliante Station, in North Las Vegas on Nov. 11. Smokey Robinson broke in the casino’s Access Showroom with its first concert on Nov. 15, not counting Sheryl Crow’s VIP performance on opening night. His two shows sold out.

"There’s an overwhelming support and enthusiasm at the casino," Nelson said of Aliante Station. "North Las Vegas was completely underserved with entertainment options."

Southwest Las Vegas is next on Station Casinos’ list of sites.

"The residents who are there right now have to travel a little farther," Nelson said. "Down the road, there will be a much more convenient location."

Contact Southeast and Southwest View reporter Danielle Nadler at dnadler@viewnews.com or 224-5524.

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