VEGAS, Nevada - Developer Garry Goett has more than
doubled the number of hotel rooms he plans to build at
his Southern Highlands resort, a project at the southernmost
tip of the Las Vegas Valley that would ultimately have
some 3,200 rooms and rival those on the Strip in size
Goett is moving ahead with plans to incorporate a casino
into a future master-planned community in North Las Vegas
despite concerns expressed by the city's mayor.
made his name in Southern Nevada by developing Southern
Highlands, a 2,750-acre master-planned community with
at least 7,000 homes. But he plans to make a big mark
on the casino business in the years to come as plans for
multiple gaming properties take shape.
gaming company affiliate, Olympia Gaming, originally received
permission from the county to build as many as 610 rooms
at the resort site, located near Southern Highlands at
the northwest corner of Las Vegas Boulevard South and
St. Rose Parkway.
company received a special use permit from the County
Commission on Wednesday to expand the resort, which would
include 1,400 hotel rooms in its first phase. The project
would eventually include a second hotel tower with 1,000
rooms and 800 condo-hotel units that would be owned and
expects to break ground this year on the first phase of
the project, which would open by winter 2008.
North Las Vegas, Goett recently purchased more than 2,600
acres to build a master-planned community similar in scope
to Southern Highlands. The land would need to be zoned
for gaming before a casino could be built there. The project
could cost in the range of $700 million to build, Goett
Las Vegas has four undeveloped sites already zoned for
gaming, though two already are spoken for. Station Casinos
plans to build a hotel called Aliante Station on one of
those parcels, located within the Aliante master-planned
community. Station is building the property in partnership
with the real estate company owned by the Greenspun family,
owners of the Las Vegas Sun.
competitor Boyd Gaming Corp. expects to build another
casino on a gaming zoned parcel at the southwest corner
of Lamb Boulevard and Centennial Parkway.
Las Vegas Mayor Michael Montandon said he objected to
the idea of another casino beyond the four gaming-entitled
not looking at building a South Strip," Montandon
said, referring to Goett's and other properties going
up in unincorporated Clark County along Las Vegas Boulevard,
south of Mandalay Bay. "That's basically an extension
of the Strip. What we're talking about are neighborhood
land appears to meet the requirements of the 1997 state
law that limits casino growth because it is far enough
away from homes and schools, Montandon said.
Bill 208 prevents developers from building casinos too
close to homes, churches and schools.
said the city still retains the discretion to reject a
casino that meets the initial burden of SB208. Land use
experts agree with that assessment, saying that SB208
only prohibits jurisdictions from approving casinos where
they are inappropriate. "There's no law anywhere
that gives anyone an automatic right to build a casino,"
shouldn't get into the business of determining how many
casinos a city can support, Goett said.
the market drive that decision," he said. "I
don't think any area should turn down quality real estate
who paid $639 million for the land, said he expects to
spend at least another $250 million on infrastructure,
including a police station and fire station. That's more
than any single company has paid up front to enter the
North Las Vegas market, Goett said.
anyone was deserving of a gaming site in North Las Vegas
it's us," Goett said. "We'd hope the council
and the mayor will remain open-minded on this issue."
said he didn't have objections to Goett's project specifically
and hasn't yet seen Olympia's plans for the site.
in the process of negotiations" over the different
elements of the project, including environmental concerns
and street layout, Montandon said.
the purchase of the land and infrastructure costs, they're
approaching a billion dollars before they put the first
house in - that's huge," the mayor said. "I
don't remember that being a specific standard" for
approving a casino, however, he said.
said the decision to expand the Southern Highlands resort
was based on a more detailed review of the resort's master
plan, as well as additional research about future business
prospects for the region.
were being cautious with our initial projections,"
he said. "We continue to do updated studies, and
the results keep saying we need to have more and more
has become commonplace for developers to upsize their
projects based on a more bullish outlook once initial
plans have been finalized, Goett said. Boyd Gaming, for
example, decided to accelerate its expansion of the South
Coast by building another 700 rooms onto the 650-room
property, he said.
Southern Highlands resort would be spread over 70 of the
site's 100 acres, with the remaining 30 acres held for
future development. By contrast, MGM Mirage and Boyd Gaming
are each building more than 5,000 rooms - including multiple
hotels, convention centers and shopping areas - on less
than 70 acres on the Strip.
said the resort would have a "spacious" feel
and a country-club-like setting, as well as easy access
from a planned upgrade to the existing Interstate 15 interchange
at St. Rose Parkway.
state Transportation Department is expected to complete
the interchange by summer 2007.
not going to be pushed in and squeezed in like some Strip
projects are," Goett said.
other amenities of the resort won't change with the hotel
expansion, he said.
envisions an upscale hybrid that would attract locals
to its casino and drive-in tourists to its hotel.
will be a very attractive casino resort and spa that will
address the multiple different segments of the market,"
Goett said. "We think it will do what the Strip is
doing with a lot of their hotels, which is building for
a lot of different customers."
project will likely be most similar to a Green Valley
Ranch or Red Rock resort, both Station Casinos properties
that are more upscale properties, he said.
think our product will definitely be upscale," he
said. "I think that's what people expect from Southern
said his company expects to develop future casinos without
help from other gaming companies. Olympia Gaming has been
approached by several gaming companies about potential
the Southern Highlands and proposed North Las Vegas projects,
Goett also envisions building one and perhaps two casinos
as part of a large, mixed-use project between Starr and
Cactus avenues a few miles north of St. Rose Parkway between
I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard South.
master plan would include homes as well as a large retail
shopping center. Goett had previously indicated that the
project could start construction by 2010.
company also owns land west of I-15 that is part of the
Southern Highlands community and could accommodate a casino.