August Poll


Monday, May 28, 2007


*UPDATE ON 5/29/07
Some more exciting news from this weeks Northern Nevada Business Weekly. A Brewhouse Pub or combo Pub/Asian Bistro will replace Chevy's. Fin is going in where Asiana was located and will feature fish, seafood and a "raw" bar instead of a sushi bar. Java Coast will be replaced by a Starbucks. (Ugh, is it too much to ask for a little about a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf?) The club going in where the Garage was located will be called, unoriginally enough, 2500 East 2nd Street. Gee, you think someone was "inspired" by 210 North?

On a much less positive note, there is a small blurb in the same issue of the NNBW reporting that Wind Energy America, Inc. has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission declaring that it is no longer involved in sales of the condominiums at GSR. The company was to be paid $15k per month as long as it sold an average of 1.5 units a month, but stated that their sales efforts fell short. This is definitely NOT a good sign IMHO. I mean, we're only talking about moving a measly 18 units annually.

I was able to stop by the Grand Sierra Resort today to check out some of the changes occurring at the Hotel/Casino. FWIW, the front desk was literally packed w/ people checking out after the long weekend (a very good sign IMO).

Overall, I was quite impressed with the job they are doing thus far. Polished marble and plush carpeting in muted tones of chocolate brown and taupe have replaced the previous tacky casino carpeting. The ceilings are freshly painted in a dark, almost black color and the chandeliers probably haven't been this clean and sparkly since the place opened as the MGM Grand in 1978.

Inside, there is a new lounge/wine bar called The Reserve located between Chevy's and the front desk. The new Club is going in where the Garage was. The lounge/bar outside of Dolce has been totally redone and is much more slick/modern. Throughout the property there are ads for the upcoming Charlie Palmer Steakhouse and renderings of the future retail component/shopping mall. Outside, the pool has been completely taken out to make way for the new Nikki Beach Pool/Cabana. Construction of the water park has yet to start, but is slated for sometime this Fall.

Here are some quick shots I took (I apologize for the VERY poor quality, I just purchased a new camera and I haven't figured out all the settings yet).

Pool area (removed to make way for water park)

Dolce & Lounge/Bar area

The Reserve Wine Bar/Lounge & Casino floor

Nikki Beach Club (under construction)

Renderings of Water Park (exterior), completed Casino & Retail/Shopping Mall

Visit for addt'l renderings/images.


Steve said...

Nice post. GSR is on a roll trying to get the casino and surrounding restaurants and lounges put together for the busy summer season. They have made a lot of progress but still have quite a long list of things to complete.

When complete, it will apparently have an entirely different - and upscale - atmosphere.

Justin said...

I completely agree. I'm really impressed with what they have done in the year since they took over the property. I think they are gaining momentum and once the Nikki Beach Night Club, Charlie Palmer Steakhouse, and water park open they should be able to generate enough revenue for them to move forward on the Nikki Beach Resort & Spa and retail, lake renovation/watershow by 2009. I would expect construction of the Kobi Karp towers to start around 2010-2011 at the latest. As they have stated, this is a multi-phase project spanning 8-10 years.

It's worth noting that GSR is no longer touting the water park as being the largest indoor water park in the nation (to the best of my knowledge). Once again, we're being outdone by our big brother to the South. Wet Las Vegas is schedule to open around the same time and will be over double the size of the GSR water park.

Nevadagirl said...

I was just asking my husband if he saw any changes at GSR as we drove by from a trip.
Thanks for the update!

Steve said...


I had previously heard that Chevy's will disappear - as of the end of June - and be replaced by a new restaurant. The replacement you mention sounds interesting.

Also, the area just north of the new wine bar, east of the condo sales offices, and west of Chevy's (currently walled off with the Players desk and Keno desk on the north end) is supposed to be a fancy new bar and lounge.

They are already building new Keno and Players desks further north in the building.

Mike Van H said...

Hey Justin! GSR's lastest issue of their new ultra-slick magazine came out, and they have some upated dates. The water fountains are already being custom designed for the lake....the design should be complete in six months and construction will begin. They will be 1000 feet wide and get this, 600 FEET TALL. That's right, 600 friggin feet into the air! To compare, Seattle's Space Needle is 605 feet. The Kobi Karp towers are coming MUCH sooner than you posted, according to GSR they should be READY FOR OCCUPANCY BY 2009. Which means they should break ground this year, considering I have never seen two 48 story towers built faster than two years.
The Nikki Beach group will have their new pool area and SEPARATE 200 room hotel done BY 2009. They start construction 4th quarter 2007. So by all accounts, within the year GSR should be a sea of construction cranes and dirt movers.
I think their overall timeline was shortened by several years due to Nikki Beach coming onboard.
If you don't have the latest mag yet you need it, all kinds of renderings and master plan images that are new. I plan on scanning them in, I can email them to you for a future GSR report.

Mike Van H said...

One more comment Justin, they added 50,000 square feet to the size of the indoor park (making it 200,000 s.f.), and there will be an outdoor section of I believe another 50,000 feet or so, making it 250,000 s.f. roughly....still not as big as the one planned in Vegas (which to me seems a bit outrageous if you read some of hteplans involved with the Vegas park) their new issue of GSR they are indeed still calling it the nation's largest indoor water park.

Justin said...


Great news on GSR. I had no idea they expanded the water park to 200k square feet. Just as a simple comparison, that's roughly the size of a Super Walmart.

As for their magazine, I've been trying to get a subscription or added to their mailing list forever. Any advise other than e-mailing them? My aunt gets it all the time at her house and sometimes she lets me snag a copy. It's a great publication!

Do you really think the Kobi Karp towers will get built that quickly? I mean, we are in the midst of a serious slowdown in the real estate market. Either way, I can't wait to see what else they have up their sleeves. It's coming together quite nicely, at least on the inside!

Anonymous said...

For those of you who think things are going well at the GSR you are sadly mistaken. The condos are not selling and they cannot finance the waterpark. Checking Washoe County title closings show that fewer than 125 condos have sold. The occupancy in the hotel is in the 30% range and the casino business of off even more. The employees are quiting left and right. They are trying to go way high end and the general public does not see why they should pay 50% more for food and rooms than the Peppermill, Atlantis or the Eldorado. I have friends who work there and they say that the money that is remodeling the property is the original loan money and it is running out quick. The magazine is just a bait and switch ploy. It talks about Nikki Beach Hotel but the RGJ had a story last week that said there would be not Nikki Beach hotel. Lies, Lies and more lies. It very sad.

Justin said...


I almost didn't publish your comment. Not because I believe in censorship, but because you didn't give a name and you provided no real proof to back up many of your claims. You come off sounding a bit like a disgruntled former employee of Grand Sierra Resort.

I won't pretend to know exactly how well GSR is or isn't doing, but I will say that the company I work for has a service contract with GSR and they always pay their bills in a timely manner (I consider that a good sign). Also, the couple times I've been in there recently they sure "seemed" well above 30% occupancy. The casino was a bit empty, but that's to be expected at the moment due to all the construction taking place on the casino floor.

FWIW, I did a search on RGJ and found no articles within the last 14 days about either GSR or Nikki Beach. Then again, their search function isn't the best. Care to supply us with a link or more info. on the article?

Anonymous said...

It is in the bottom of the May 16 article on the firing of the GSR president.

Justin said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Mike Van H said...

OK guess what I work for GSR, I built the web site, and I know exactly how many interested folks their sales team get just from that one site (they have several), and there is continuous strong interest in their property.
That article did not say a Nikki Beach hotel isn't being built, it simply said Nikki Beach isn't occupying the upper floors like originally planned. Perfect example of the one-sided view of your comment. If you had read my comment more closely you would have seen that I said in the magaine Nikki Beach was planning on building a separate 200 room hotel. which obviously one would assume that means they arent occupying the upper floors as well. Also, it didn't say the President was 'fired' as you call it, it called it a mutual decision, and it was always planned he would leave at a certain point.
The employees who complain there are disgruntled because Grand Sierra has much higher standards for their employees than Reno Hilton did. My best friend's dad works in the Sports Book and confirmed this. Just like most takeovers, there are some who aren't happy with the way new owners do business.
The water park is supposed to start construction this summer. So we'll see soon enough whether it gets built or not.
I'd sure like to know who you friends are that work there that tell you how the loan money is spent, because I've worked at hotels before and NO ONE knows what is being spent where except for the very top people. Why don't you name them or at least name their position there? I'll gladly name who I know there :)
As for their low occupancy, if you didn't notice, or you chose to ignore, Reno Hilton had DISMAL occupancy rates before GSR bought it...the property was a in a state of total disrepair, their theater was closed, the casino had outdated carpet and decor, the restaurants (except for Johnny Rockets) had no branding or appeal. Why do you think it was on the market in the first place? Don't forget they JUST bought Reno Hilton what, less than a year ago? You don't turn a resort's decade-long misfortunes around overnight. They weren't expecting to increase their occupancy rates until after major renovations were complete, which they are in the middle of. Their price increase for rooms had NOTHING to do with their low occupancy, it was low before their increase in room rates. And if you did some studying, you would know that the RSCVA is trying to raise the overall room rate average in Reno which has not risen at the rate it should given overall occupancy rates and number of conventioneers etc., so actually I give kudos to GSR for taking the bold step to be the first to raise rates. I suspect they won't be the last.

Mike Van H said...

Aside from the funny fact that Grand Sierra got hit with a computer virus on Saturday, this article mentioned that nearly 100% of their 2000 rooms were booked both Friday and Saturday, excluding the ones being renovated into hotel-condos because of construction. A computer virus affecting their swipe-card access system...reminds me of the movie Terminator!

Justin said...


Thanks for the link. It looks like things at GSR aren't as dire as some believe. I will be there Friday night, so I'll be sure to post my observations.

Steve said...

Here is a recent article from the RGJ with some recent updates on Restaurants and bars at the GSR...


Tuesday, June 05, 2007
In one ear: The latest word on Charlie Palmer

Charlie Palmer Steak and Fin Fish should open at Grand Sierra Resort by late July or early August. That's the word I got from Matt Hill, executive chef at the restaurants, and Jerry Ignatich, executive chef of the resort, when they gave me a tour of the construction recently:

Fin Fish, the boys said, will be more casual and sport a wall composed of driftwood. Charlie Palmer steak will be more formal, with white tablecloths and a bar crafted from white oak. The restaurants will share a sleek black cocktail lounge, which will serve gastro-nibbles like BLT sliders and lobster corn dogs (a chef Palmer signature).

Fin Fish, by the way, is the first strictly seafood restaurant to be opened by the Palmer organization.

Also on the horizon at Grand Sierra: a new Asian restaurant, a buffet rejiggered with cooking stations, a Starbucks (sigh; I suppose it makes business sense), a corner bakery, and a retail wine cellar adjacent to Reserve Wine Bar, which just opened in the lobby, and which, I hear, is already one of the places to be on weekend nights.

posted by Johnathan L. Wright