by Eli Segall, Las Vegas Review-Journal, July 2, 2022
In the Las Vegas suburbs, Station Casinos is turning a big stretch of dirt it has owned for years into a new resort, at a price of $750 million.
That’s not the only project it’s building around the valley — though its other one is a bit smaller.
Work crews are building a Wildfire casino on Fremont Street just south of Charleston Boulevard in the downtown area. According to Las Vegas city records last year, the one-story project will span more than 21,000 square feet and sit on a 5-acre plot of land.
Station, whose parent company is Red Rock Resorts, operates several Wildfire-branded casino locations in addition to Red Rock Resort and other hotel-casinos. The Wildfire on Rancho Drive near Lake Mead Boulevard boasts 150 slot machines, a restaurant and a “no-fuss Vegas sports book that still brings its A-game.”
Station said in a statement Friday that it is “excited to bring a new Wildfire casino with fresh new amenities to the local residents of downtown Las Vegas.”
It added, “As the site is under construction, we will have more details in the coming weeks.”
The project occupies part of the former Castaways site, which Station purchased in 2004. The hotel had been closed for months when Station acquired it, and the company ultimately demolished it.
Bentar Development owner Amador “Chi Chi” Bengochea, who bought 25 acres of the site from Station in 2018, has ushered in plenty of construction. He developed a 344-unit apartment complex, a mini-storage facility and a building that the Southern Nevada Health District plans to occupy.
He also confirmed that he is building the Wildfire for Station as a contractor.
Bengochea said the apartment complex averages 97 percent occupancy. Its amenities include a soccer field, basketball court, fitness center and playground, and the units feature walk-in closets and granite countertops.
“We wanted to build something very nice in that submarket that they’re not used to getting,” he said.
Wildfire’s plot is a fraction of the size of other parcels that Station owns around Southern Nevada. As outlined in a securities filing, its vast land holdings including 58 acres at Flamingo Road and Town Center Drive in Summerlin; 57 acres at Las Vegas Boulevard and Cactus Avenue south of the Strip; 47 acres in Skye Canyon in the upper northwest valley; and 45 acres in Inspirada at the southern tip of the valley
Moreover, its under-construction Durango hotel-casino in the southwest valley will sit on roughly 50 acres, with an adjacent 21 acres held for sale.
Station, which acquired the Durango site about two decades ago, broke ground on the resort this year. Almost any way you slice it, the project towers over the new Wildfire.
Durango is expected to span about 533,000 square feet and feature more than 73,000 square feet of casino space, 200-plus hotel rooms, restaurants and more, according to a securities filing.
Station hasn’t announced when or where it will build its next big resort in Southern Nevada — it’s only months into building Durango, after all — but has made no secret that others could follow.
Last fall, management indicated on a conference call with analysts that it wants to double its presence in the valley.
Station has owned land tracts for years without visible activity on them, though its project downtown shows it’s pushing ahead with construction on at least one other site it held in storage.