by Richard N. Velotta, Las Vegas Review-Journal, March 11, 2022
Hundreds of Station Casinos employees and executives on Friday witnessed the launch of the company’s newest locals resort during a private ceremonial groundbreaking for the Durango Casino & Resort.
Red Rock Resorts Inc. Chairman and CEO Frank J. Fertitta III, Vice Chairman Lorenzo J. Fertitta, and an estimated 300 workers from Station properties attended the event off the 215 Beltway at Durango Drive, the site of the 200-room, $750 million project slated to open in late 2023.
Newly appointed Red Rock Resorts President Scott Kreeger, Chief Operating Officer Bob Finch and Bill Richardson, principal of W.A. Richardson Builder LLC, contractors for the project, also were expected to be on hand for the event.
Richardson Builders was selected as the project’s construction manager. The architect of record is Las Vegas-based Friedmutter Group; both firms will be led by Station Casinos’ in-house design and construction teams. The company also will partner with various interior design firms, including Looney & Associates and Avenue ID, the designers responsible for the hotel lobby and bar, which the company unveiled Friday.
Red Rock Resorts, Station Casinos parent company, also provided a first look at the latest renderings of the resort, which will include an 83,000-square-foot casino with a state-of-the-art race and sportsbook, four signature food and beverage outlets, a nine-tenant food hall, a pool with private cabanas, an environmentally friendly event lawn and 20,000 square feet of meetings and convention space.
The resort’s parking garage will have 40 electric vehicle charging stations. In addition, multiple bike lanes will access the property, which plans to provide ample bicycle parking.
Kreeger said Durango would use several design elements from the company’s signature Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, which he opened as general manager. He expects the Durango demographic to be similar to Red Rock’s.
“We bent a lot of rules in what was traditionally viewed as a gaming property and I know that was met with great success,” Kreeger said in an interview Thursday. “So I think the types of things you saw with Red Rock you’re going to see at the next level with Durango.”
Kreeger is confident in the success of Durango because the company will build on the experience it has had in the Southern Nevada resort industry for years.
“For 45 years, we’ve been the go-to in the market for entertainment and gaming and each time we build a new property — we are a bricks-and-mortar company — when we build a property we’ve taken what we’ve learned along the journey and create something new that’s relevant for the time and the customer preference and stretch the envelope of creativity and offering from one property to the next,” he said.
Valley growth breeds success
Kreeger echoed a frequent refrain from Red Rock’s recent earnings calls — that growth in the Las Vegas Valley will contribute to the company’s success.
“If you look at the growth in the valley, that’s probably the most obvious thing coupled with the fact that over time we have acquired strategically located assets around the valley and a lot of those assets are right in the middle of these economic development zones,” Kreeger said.
“From a forward-looking perspective, I think we’re perfectly poised to do that. I just think we’re really tuned in to the preferences and amenities that our customers are looking for, coupled with our growth opportunities and connectivity with our customers, I just think the sky’s the limit.”
Kreeger, who was named president of Red Rock on Feb. 28, is on his second stint with the company. Prior to the appointment, Kreeger was director of operations development and new resorts since 2018 with the Galaxy Entertainment Group in Macao.
Second Station stint
He originally joined Station Casinos in 2000 and held several key senior positions in operations, property management, marketing, technology and Native American gaming before leaving to join Revel Resort and Casino in Atlantic City in July 2013 as president and chief operating officer. Kreeger remained at Revel until the sale of that property and then joined SLS Las Vegas Resort and Casino, where he was employed from October 2014 through December 2017 as president and chief operating officer.
“Scott is the right leader for Red Rock Resorts,” Frank Fertitta III said at the time of his hiring. “Scott’s long history with the company, his knowledge of all aspects of our business and his proven leadership sets the company up for continued and accelerated future growth.”
Two Station Casinos staples Durango won’t have initially will be movie theaters and bowling lanes. But Kreeger said not to worry — those, as well as an entertainment venue, could come in later phases of development of the property.
“We’ll continue to embrace that desert oasis feel and the connection to nature, warm colors and open-air nature. You’ll see what we did at Red Rock and make it even better and relevant to today. It’s going to be a much more socially interactive property with lots of energy and common areas for folks to enjoy,” Kreeger said.
The interior design will include natural stone-clad floors and walls, while the texture, light and neutral tones will flood the space. Durango’s hotel lobby will have “relaxed energy and breeze” with a lobby bar “where cozy nooks, cool sofas and one-of-a-kind art pieces create the perfect chemistry of conversations, relaxation and a sense of place.”
Durango will join the Station Casinos Southern Nevada empire that includes Red Rock Resort, Green Valley Ranch, Palace Station, Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Santa Fe Station and a host of smaller operations bearing the Wildfire brand.
Station also owns Texas Station, Fiesta Rancho and Fiesta Henderson, which have been closed since March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kreeger said the company is always examining the opportunity to reopen closed properties.
“They exist in their own micromarkets, so each property has unique conditions and economic factors that we consider to judge whether or not it’s the right time to reopen,” Kreeger said. “We continue to evaluate that on a regular basis and when we do think the economic opportunities are right, we have some direction. It’s a very dynamic environment right now … we’ll make that decision when the time’s right.”