When Marnell Gaming acquired the Nugget Casino Resort 14 months ago, there was a lot of work that had to be done. “Whatever could break, broke,” says Nugget’s General Manager Mark Sterbens Jr.
However, instead of investing a little money here and there to try to keep the place running, Marnell Gaming opted to undergo a $25 million renovation project that includes rebuilding the 800-room west tower, freshening up the second floor that hosts its convention center and ballroom, renovating its main casino floor, and more.
“We tripled the size of our fitness center with new state-of-the-art equipment and we’re putting in 250 slot machines and carpet- we have 60 percent of the casino floor done,” says Sterbens.
“Mark hit the nail on the head…if you’ve ever seen the movie Money Pit, that’s this project,” Marnell Gaming Anthony Marnell III says. “I didn’t imagine this project would be so intense. I can’t thank the city enough for their support. As a local native Nevadan, I believe in spending money in Nevada and keeping it in the state,” Marnell says about using local vendors for construction materials and labor.
He went on to say that Marnell Gaming company has probably spent closer to $35 million so far in fixing and renovating the hotel casino, and after finishing the casino renovations will move on to building a brand-new steakhouse. Marnell is also planning to make minor changes to the Oyster Bar, but stressed that he understands it’s one of Sparks’ most popular restaurants and will work to preserve the historic nature of the place that’s been serving popular seafood dishes for the past 58 years.
The Nugget recently completed renovations of the West Tower and 110,000 square feet of convention space. All West Tower rooms are now equipped with Keurig coffeemakers and follow a “modern lodge” theme and décor.
The convention center features all new fixtures, carpet, paint, wall treatments, lighting, and electrical upgrades- replacing the previous mauve/taupe color scheme with rich chocolaty, modern tones. Two million has been invested to provide new serve ware including banquet equipment and food service stations.
Marnell says that they are working towards the goal of taking two years to complete all improvements, which began in January 2017. He stated in a press release, “Completely remodeling the West Tower rooms and convention center reflects our commitment to making the property a market leader and this is just the beginning of the Nugget makeover. There will be much more to come toward the end of 2017 and into 2018.”
Although he says that he is really upset that he didn’t get the nation’s largest Christmas tree last year, the Nugget keeps the community in mind when undergoing renovations. For the last 18 years, the Nugget has sponsored Star Spangled Sparks- shooting off fireworks from its rooftops.
“The people of Northern Nevada have always supported the Nugget and we intend to make this a property the community can be proud of now and for years to come,” he says.
The Nugget Casino Resort originally began in 1960 as a coffee shop with slot machines when John Ascuaga purchased it and further developed it into one of Sparks’ major properties which came to be known as John Ascuaga’s Nugget. Global Gaming purchased the resort-casino in 2013 from the Ascuaga family before Marnell Gaming acquired it in early 2016.