Updated September 21, 2022 - 3:50 pm
Station Casinos cleared a hurdle in its quest to build a new resort in North Las Vegas, as the company shakes up its real estate portfolio.
The North Las Vegas Planning Commission last week approved Station’s plans for a 67-acre hotel-casino at the northwest corner of Losee Road and the 215 Beltway in a hearing that featured pushback against a company that is also tearing down hotels in Southern Nevada.
Station’s newest project would be built in two phases and calls for a total of 600 hotel rooms and more than 75,700 square feet of casino space. It would also feature restaurants, a movie theater, banquet facilities and other amenities, city records show.
The proposed development would provide more than 1,100 construction jobs and, at full buildout, up to 840 permanent full-time jobs, Station representative Rebecca Miltenberger, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, told the commission.
The proposal is scheduled to go before the North Las Vegas City Council for a first reading on Oct. 5 and a vote on Oct. 19, said Assistant City Manager Delen Goldberg.
Station had no comments for this story.
A locals-focused casino operator with extensive land holdings in Southern Nevada, Station has set out to overhaul its presence in the region. It is building a $750 million resort in the southwest Las Vegas Valley and has said it’s working on plans for other land tracts, with the goal of doubling its portfolio by 2030.
Station is also tearing down some hotels, including in North Las Vegas, that never reopened after the pandemic hit and intends to sell the land. It also plans to demolish the Wild Wild West hotel-casino near the Strip and redevelop the site.
The Planning Commission hearing on Sept. 14 featured plenty of criticism from members of the public, including people who said they worked at Station properties that are now permanently shuttered.
The Culinary Union, which has butted heads with Station for years, voiced its opposition to the project with a representative telling the commission that the proposal appears to be “speculative zoning” and “does not serve the community at large.”
State Sen. Pat Spearman, whose district covers North Las Vegas, told the panel she was there “on behalf of the 5,000-plus workers who’ve lost their jobs, can barely pay their rent, and they’re hanging by just a little thin thread of hope. But they haven’t thrown in the towel, and that’s why they’re here this evening.”
She asked for an agreement that people who lost their jobs at the shuttered hotels would be the first hired at the new one.
Jeffrey Welch, chief legal officer of Station parent Red Rock Resorts, told the commission that around one-third of the employees at each of its three properties that never reopened from the pandemic — Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson — were later hired back.
For the last 14 months, however, the company has “not been permitted to hire any of these people to our other properties” because of a state law approved last year, said Welch, who was interrupted by laughter from the audience.
Under the measure, called the Nevada Hospitality and Travel Workers Right to Return Act, Station hires people back to a location from which they had been terminated, according to Welch, who said the law “does not offer us the opportunity” to hire workers from its permanently closed properties.
“If this is what they believe we could do, they’ve been misled by whoever is feeding them the information,” he told the commission.
‘Empty publicity stunts’
This spring, dozens of current and former Station employees teamed up to sue the company, alleging that it had failed to comply with the law.
The Culinary Union held a news conference in late March to announce the lawsuit against Station. At the time, a Station spokesman said the court action was “only the latest in a series of empty publicity stunts” by the union and was “intended to harass and bully” the company, the Review-Journal reported.
Senate Bill 386 sought to pave a path for people in Nevada’s tourism industry to be rehired by calling for employers to offer laid-off workers the same job or a similar one if it becomes available. The measure followed huge job losses sparked by the pandemic and was set to expire at the end of last month.
North Las Vegas Planning Commissioner Ken Kraft said at last week’s hearing that his dad lost his job after working at the same company for 30 years, and he thanked people for “having the courage” to speak at the meeting.
“At the end of the day, Station is putting profits over people, and I wish I could fix that,” Kraft said. “I wish I could put a condition of approval on this, but I can’t.”
He noted the commission is a land-use panel and the project site has long been contemplated for a casino-resort.
“We don’t have a reason to not support it,” he said.