Station Casinos to add to roster of properties

SUMMERLIN, Nev. -- Station Casinos broke ground last month on its 12th Las Vegas-area property, the 400-room Red Rock Station Resort and Casino in this bedroom community 15 miles northwest of the Strip at Charleston Boulevard and Interstate 215.

The resort, which will open its doors at the end of 2005 or the first quarter of 2006, is also five miles from the entrance to the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation and Recreation Area, a 67,500-acre preserve.

Station Casinos' roster of properties -- from Wild Wild West to the newer, 3-year-old Green Valley Ranch Station -- has veered further into the upscale ranks with each opening.

The Red Rock resort will cost between $450 million and $475 million; its youngest sister, the Green Valley Ranch, cost $300 million to build (and is now undergoing a $110 million expansion that will add 300 rooms).

"The Green Valley property's success has given us great confidence in going forward with the Red Rock resort," said Glen Christenson, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Station Casinos. He said

Station has 3,000 rooms in Las Vegas Valley and averages 95% occupancy throughout.

Regardless of the popularity of Station Casinos in the valley, the Summerlin project was not a slam-dunk with local residents. Months of vocal opposition from the homeowners at Station's initial plans to build a 300-foot tower hotel along with two, 200-foot-high towers for time-shares and offices forced the company to do a little compromising.

The final plan, which passed inspection by the Clark County Commission in January, now includes just one, 198-foot-high, 18-story hotel tower.

The change in the tower's height means that Station's original goal of 1,000 rooms will be scaled back, at least in this early stage of the area's development.

Christenson said the tower and casino is the first phase in a planned 400-acre Summerlin Centre, a new downtown urban area conceived by the developers, the Howard Hughes Corp., which also owns the land.

The Red Rock resort will anchor the site, which will also include office towers, condominiums, restaurants and a shopping mall.

Summerlin is a 25,000-acre master plan housing community, with high-end homes, bike trails and parks. Residents, according to local news reports, were mostly concerned about tall buildings blocking their views of the Spring Mountains.

But Station Casinos' flexibility on this project is based on simple economics: Most of Station's casinos cater to local residents, and the Red Rock property will be the jewel in the crown.

Station Casinos' chairman and CEO, Frank Fertitta, said Red Rock Station will be a "category-killer," meaning that the property will far exceed the competitive offerings in the area in terms of service and amenities.

"We see the Red Rock property as the next evolution in local gaming," said Christenson, "based on the quality of the amenity package, service, shows and restaurants."

Christenson added that locals and tourists want the same thing: value for their dollar, loose slots and good food.

Red Rock will feature 10 full-service restaurants, from quick service and buffet to gourmet; six bar/lounges; a 16-screen movie theater and arcade; childcare facilities; an entertainment lounge; a 40,000-square-foot meetings and convention facility for groups from 15 to 1,500; and a 20,000-square-foot full-service spa, featuring massage and treatment rooms, a salon and a workout room.

It will also boast a three-acre pool and beach area, featuring private poolside cabanas, two poolside bars and a poolside cafe.

The 87,000-square-foot casino will include 2,700 slot/video poker machines, 60 gaming tables, a state-of-the-art race and sports book, a poker room and a bingo parlor.

The resort will employ 2,000 workers. The architect and design team includes Architroplis, the Friedmutter Group and SADI, all of which worked on Station's Green Valley Ranch property.

Station Casinos' other Las Vegas-area properties include the Palace, Boulder, Santa Fe, Fiesta Rancho, Wild Wild West and Wildfire casinos in Las Vegas proper; Texas Station in North Las Vegas; and Sunset, Green Valley, Fiesta and Barley's in Henderson.

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