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Developer looks to build apartments behind Sunset Station

Over the last several years, developers have packed Southern Nevada with housing tracts, warehouses and, a particular favorite, apartments.

Now after waves of rental complexes took shape, mostly in the suburbs, a local developer has drawn up plans for a multifamily project in a different kind of spot: right behind a casino.

Ovation Development filed plans with the city of Henderson for a 55-and-older apartment complex behind Sunset Station. The 249-unit project would be built on a 5.3-acre chunk of what’s now casino-owned property off Warm Springs Road between Marks and Stephanie streets, city records show.

As seen in project plans, the complex is called Radiance at Sunset.

Southern Nevada has long been a popular place for retirees, given its near year-round sunshine, relatively affordable housing costs, lack of state income taxes, and ample casinos and golfing. Moreover, Sunset Station operator Station Casinos considers locals aged 65 and up to be its core customers.

Younger people have visited Station properties more often during the coronavirus pandemic than they did before it, executives have said, but seniors remain key.

Frank Fertitta III, chairman and CEO of Station parent Red Rock Resorts, said in February that vaccinations would help its “older, tried-and-true, very loyal customers” feel comfortable returning to its casinos.

Older customers indeed kept coming to Station properties during the spring as pandemic restrictions eased and vaccination rates climbed, executives said.

Ovation’s project site is behind a property that boasts a 72-lane bowling alley, a 13-screen movie theater, bingo, and nearly 2,000 slot and video poker machines. It’s also near the Galleria at Sunset mall.

Scott Lawrence, vice president at Ovation, told me the company is “still very early in the process ” and “working through some typical predevelopment issues.”

Red Rock Resorts spokesman Michael Britt said the casino operator had no comment for this story.

This isn’t the first time a local real estate firm set out to build apartments next to a Station property, but the last venture was by no means the same.

Las Vegas developer The Calida Group started construction in 2019 on an upscale apartment complex next to the Palms, which Station had acquired in 2016. Known over the years as a big party spot, the Palms has boasted nightclubs, celebrity sightings and lavish suites, including some with dance poles in the showers, the Review-Journal previously reported.

Prior to the pandemic, one side of its casino was typically populated by older locals, while across the resort, management also tried to get younger tourists with its bars and clubs, including the short-lived Kaos.

After the pandemic hit, the Palms was forced to close with every casino in Nevada. But a year and a half later, it still hasn’t reopened from state-ordered lockdown, and Red Rock Resorts announced in May that it was selling the property.

Meanwhile, Calida said in January that it was opening its 286-unit project next door, Elysian at The Palms.

At the time, Calida said the complex features a “sexy sophistication” and a clubhouse that includes a wine tasting lounge and party area, a poker lounge, and a “novelty sexy vending machine.”

“Elysian at the Palms is the adult playground that Las Vegas has been waiting for,” a news release declared.

Just a hunch, but I’m guessing an age-restricted community behind Sunset Station might be slightly subdued in comparison.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers John Katsilometes and Mike Shoro contributed to this report.

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