Nugget owners yet to release plans for shuttered property
As part of Victorian Square’s multi-year revitalization, it was announced that the owners of Nugget Casino Resort recently purchased Bourbon Square in early June. The sale includes the nearly 2-acre building and two land leases around it. Built in the heart of Victorian Square, the property originally operated as the Silver Club casino for more than two decades before shutting down in 2009.
Northern NV Asset Holdings, LLC reopened it as Bourbon Square Casino in 2013 but struggled to get it up and running again. A couple years after the acquisition, Bourbon Square hotel/casino transferred over to GreenStreet Communities and LandCap Investments who turned the former hotel into 100-unit apartments and renamed it Square One. However, the casino wasn’t part of the sale.
Based in Las Vegas, Marnell Gaming purchased the Nugget in early 2016 to add to its growing quiver of hotel/casino properties that includes Edgewater, Colorado Belle, the Rio, and The M Resort Spa Casino. The Nugget was Marnell Gaming’s first hotel/casino property acquisition in the Northern Nevada region. With it being in such close proximity to Bourbon Square, Sparks’ guests are likely to enjoy activities in Victorian Square and consider the Nugget for overnight stays.
Nugget Marketing and Communications Coordinator Caddie Dufurrena said that Marnell Gaming is in the initial stages of development right now and further plans are unavailable as it is in the process of exploring several possibilities. Nugget Director of Marketing Randy Kennedy released this statement to the media:
“The purchase of the former Bourbon Square property made sense given the timing, since it is a key piece of real estate for the future of Victorian Square. We are exploring several long-term possibilities and plan to make the most beneficial use of the purchase both for the future of the Nugget and downtown Sparks. Short term plans include utilizing the space for summer special event staging.”
Since Marnell Gaming is currently in the throes of a multi-million dollar renovation of the Nugget, upper management is in no hurry to renovate the property. It was rumored that in initial discussions the Marnells considered turning Bourbon Square casino into an office space but the layout of the building may not be suited for that. Previous owners have struggled to renovate the building due to its inefficient and dated architecture, little window line, and parking issues.
“It’s an extraordinarily deep space…personally I think that demolition is probably needed, and if that is what Marnell is considering then it probably would not happen this year,” says Silverwing Development President J Carter Witt III of The Bridges and Fountainhouse living spaces currently under development in Victorian Square.
Silverwing is happy that Marnell Gaming is the one to purchase this property as Witt says the Marnell family is much more decisive in their planning and operations and is in a better position to take action on the property.
“I can’t speak on their behalf, but I’m sure they’re trying to figure out how this best fits into their business plan. If we can work with them that would be great. Its location ties into its existing operation across the street, I think it’s in the right hands.
Personally, I’m happy they bought it because we can consolidate our efforts for revitalizing Victorian Square with a couple of main players that can work together to reach a common goal,” says Witt.
As Marnell Gaming is figuring out what is best for its operations, enhancing its casino footprint with the Nugget close by is a strategically smart move, especially if it is looking to boost its VIP guest experience with a special events staging area in the heart of Bourbon Square.
“We’ve talked about doing a joint venture on the ground level on special events. We’re in dialogue with them but there’s nothing definitive,” Witt adds.
Meanwhile, Silverwing Development is coasting right along in its construction of the The Bridges 192-apartment complex in Victorian Square.
“We will be finished with the North building by the end of the year,” Witt says, with construction of the South end to be completed in April 2018. Silverwing is in the process of finishing a parking garage with accommodations to be built on top and connecting a bridge to the garage and the top of the movie theater.
“The theater is expected to reopen by the first quarter of next year,” Witt adds. “Things are happening, but in my world they don’t happen fast enough. I hope the Marnells are happy with what we are doing- we are pleased with the open communication and constant dialogue with them,” he says.
Witt believes that with all investors working together as a team- and having properties in the area already- will hopefully encourage locals and visitors to utilize Victorian Square for all of their dining, shopping, and entertaining needs.
“No other casino really has land around it- an area where you can take a break from gaming and go outside and enjoy nice ambiance, take a walk,” he says. “My hat is off to the Marnells- what they do to Bourbon Square will make the area much better in the long term.”