The $675 million Aliante Station hotel-casino will open its doors to the public at exactly 11 p.m. on Nov. 11, raising the stakes for a North Las Vegas area now served primarily by one casino-hotel.
The Aliante property, a 50-50 joint venture of Station Casinos and the Greenspun Corporation, is located off the 215 Beltway and Aliante Parkway, within the masterplanned community of Aliante. It will offer 202 hotel guest rooms and suites; six restaurants and a food court; 14,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and convention space; Regal Cinemas’16-screen movie theater; a 600-seat entertainment concert venue; a state-of-the-art sports book, and an array of popular gaming choices, traditional table games, a poker room, and slot machines.
Until Aliante, the Cannery Hotel-Casino had this locals market pretty much to itself, although there is some competition a little farther away.
Asked about the economic climate in which Aliante Station is opening in, Aliante Vice President and General Manager Joe Hasson took a longer view.
“When I think of the circumstances that we find ourselves in today economically, the first thing that occurs to me is that once again we get a long run rate ahead of us where things are destined to be vibrant the way that Las Vegas has been vibrant for literally decades. If we’re starting at a point where there is some uncertainty in the environment, the good news for me is that that means the compass points nowhere but up from this point forward,” said Hasson, a 27-year gaming veteran who previously ran Green Valley Ranch Station in Henderson, Nev.
“We’re in a terrific emerging community of North Las Vegas, the Aliante master-planned community. It’s terrific in terms of the retirement-minded crowd, terrific in terms of new start-up homes, terrific in terms of people who are buying their first home or looking for their first opportunity in the Las Vegas Valley, and North Las Vegas is affordable for them,” he said.
The economic doldrums also has meant a strong pool of applicants from which to draw a talented work force, he said. “I look at it from the perspective that I get a great opportunity to hire people who at this point in time need a great job,” he said. “And to the extent that I’ll hire more than 1,000 people for Aliante Station, it’s all good for my team to find those people who are either underemployed, or looking for their next opportunity or even more simple than that simply looking for an opportunity to work very close to where they live.”
First and foremost, Hasson said, Aliante is a true locals property. “We’re building what locals have come to expect of our company, and this is our next-generation product in terms of how do we take great care of locals looking for a casino entertainment experience,” he said, noting some of the highlights including a state-of-the-art sports book, great gaming options and new dining choices, something especially important in this neighborhood area, which hasn’t yet filled in with a multitude of dining options. “All of those food flavors and all of those price points are designed by us strategically to meet the expectations of a local clientele to really enjoy,” including inexpensive quick-bite-type restaurants, Station’s Feast buffet, and its higher-end steakhouse restaurant, called MRKT.”
“The beauty of what we’re doing at Aliante station in terms of lodging is that that will fit nicely with the locals needs for that same kind of experience,” Hasson said. “We will be the hotel that is the neighborhood inn of the community, a little bit of an entertainment hub.”
The property also features 14,000 square feet of indoor meeting and conference space, and an outdoor pool in the style of the Red Rock or Green Valley Ranch pools although not as large.
Later phases will add bingo, bowling, a spa and salon, and potentially another hotel tower as growth warrants, Hasson said.
“We’ve assembled a piece of land that allows us to grow as our business both gets its legs underneath it and matures, and the community around us fills out with both more population, more frequency and more of the pizzazz that all of our businesses have come to know across 30 plus years in Las Vegas,” he said.
The design of the property, both inside and out, draws from the desert beauty surrounding the community, in sort of a Scottsdale, Ariz., fashion, Hasson said. “There’s no removing us from the desert we’re in – in fact we celebrate it. We have the backdrop of the mountains right behind us. We have the infinite blue skies above us. We have the desert landscape, and then we have the master -planned communities, particularly Aliante, providing the splash of color in everything from lawns and parks, and all the nice walking trails they can provide and we’ve added to that in a complementary way in terms of a design theme.
Inside, the casino is spacious and devoid of the columns seen in so many casinos. “We have engineered and designed it to allow us to maintain great sight lines and that somewhat parallels the stark, scenic beauty of the desert,” he said.
Its gaming offerings will include the latest slots and table games, as well as a poker room and a state-of-the-art sports book, with huge viewing screens and the latest in technology. The casino floor has been installed with all the infrastructure necessary for server-based gaming, Hasson noted. “So from that perspective, as the industry and its slot providers and for that matter internally the company takes technology steps forward, we have already constructed the highway, so to speak, to allow us to get from where we are today to where the industry will take us in the future,” he said. “We’ll be prepared and standing by to receive it at the earliest opportunity.”
Aliante’s Access showroom is the largest entertainment venue in the Station family, with 650 seats. “We will offer entertainment that is broad-based. We need to find out where is the sweet spot in the community, and what kind of gravity can we create to ourselves, given that we’re a locals resort. We’re going to try a lot of genres,” he said.