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Peppermill Hotel Casino Continues Remodel

So in some what-downtown-casinos-should-be-doing-but-aren't news, Peppermill is embarking on another remodel project which will completely renovate all existing rooms in their older tower, add some new features to Edge Nightclub, and add some retail shops. Here's the breakdown:

» Peppermill tower remodel and two story $2.3 million dollar executive board room: $15.8 million
» EDGE nightclub improvements: $2.3 million
» Bella Bottega (women) and Garbati Bottega (men) boutiques: About $1 million

The only way Reno can continue to be a player in the gaming market is continual renovation of the products offered, and to offer a better experience than surrounding indian casinos.

While some gaming revenue has been lost to indian casinos, given the fact people rarely actually go to a destination to gamble (Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority says only about 14% of folks come to Vegas with gambling as their primary goal) I think Reno can still remain relevant if casinos continue to offer new experiences to guests who come up and stay here. Are you listening, downtown Casinos? Other than Silver Legacy opening an ultra-lounge, and Siena revamping it's image (which isn't so much a renovation as it is changes in operation) there's hasn't been a lot of redevelopment action going on downtown. Silver Legacy mentions on their Wikipedia page the property has been undergoing renovations since 2007, but what are those renovations and why aren't they more noticeable? What about updating the gaming experience to include something indian casinos cannot offer? Or here's a shocking concept, what about buying up a few of the neighboring properties and renovating them into entertainment venues?

Most of my readers come back with the answer "Well Mike, casinos don't want folks to leave their properties so why would they want to improve the properties surrounding them?" To that, my answer to the casinos is "It's getting to the point that people won't want to stay downtown BECAUSE of the surrounding neighborhood, and seek out south Reno casinos instead."

So I'll open the mic to my readers.....tell me...what could the Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, and Eldorado do to improve their properties?


Post your comments
Posted by: Wiley_n_Reno - 4/18/2010 11:23:06 AM
IMO, the 3 big downtown casinos should make a new sports book with a theater style viewing area, (200 seats). Use some of the wasted space under the dome and tear out or alter the dumb Silver Mine replica. Sports betting is not allowed in California and they should make it a point of emphasis. They could go look at the Red Rocks casino down in Las Vagas as a model. Plus, get rid any of that gaudy 1980's style lighting! It's dated.

Posted by: Matt - 4/18/2010 2:08:05 PM
Hey Mike, well like I mentioned on FB, Silver Legacy is too embarking on a room remodeling project and some rooms are already renovated according to trip advisor, before Silver Legacy revamped their website, they had a page devoted to the newly remodeled rooms. The rendering did look appealing. 42 or 32" LCD screen, new bedding and carpet. That's it, what these casinos need to be doing is upgrading their gaming floors and like you said, bring in an attraction Indian casinos can't compete with. However, it all goes back to money flow. Peppermill, Atlantis, they are owned by individual companies with smaller numbers of casinos to operate, therefore have more money to use for remodeling and it depends on how devoted they are to the market that dictates how they remodel. Peppermill, Atlantis, those hotels have strong local ties therefore are very devoted to the market and want to give it something that is very luxurious and modern and fresh. Silver Legacy, Harrah's, Circus, they are owned by the big corporations from Vegas and with the exception of Eldorado and partially Silver Legacy that are locally owned, they just dont care and for the most part are broke. So there you have it, we're lucky Silver Legacy is FINALLY remodeling their rooms because in all honesty, they were getting pretty drab. Harrah's has done some remodeling in the past but they could use alot more, I like the effort Siena is giving. We need to move more beyond gaming though. We need to remodel the Fitz because visitors to Reno feel like they are in some gritty city when they see this 16 story monolith next to our landmark Reno arch, something has GOT to be done to it. I don't care what, Mr. Leal needs to know that it's not helping to just let it sit there, money or no money, good or bad economy. Secondly, buildup the Freight House District, that helps immensely, Indian Gaming can't offer that, and finally build the Tessera District, because I really think that could really change things around. And let people know what's beyond downtown througn marketing in the casinos and in downtown streets that, "Hey! There's supreme shopping in South Reno and Legends at Sparms Marina, there is a nice Marina in Sparks, all that stuff" Just my opinion on what needs to be done to casinos and what should be done

Posted by: Anakin-Marc - 4/19/2010 3:12:56 AM
We always look at the Fitz when thinking about abandoned buildings, but remember, there's a fairly short stretch of Virginia Street (between First and Second) that, with the exception of the Cal-Neva, seems to have nothing *but* abandoned and/or run-down buildings. The old gift shop building, the building next to it that *still* has remnants of the Burger King logo on its awning from like the 80s or 90s, the (for the most part) abandoned Nevadan Tower, the old jeweler, and the Woolworth's Building (which is supposedly undergoing renovations). On the other side of that, you have City Hall and the Cal Neva, separated from each other by an abandoned hotel. Honestly, if I were Cal Neva, I'd cut my losses with the Nevadan Tower and move the hotel rooms to the Virginian Tower, which not only has a first floor that's usable for new casino space, but is actually attached to their casino (if I remember correctly, they actually did that for a while which makes one wonder why they went into their current arrangement in the first place). The actual block where the Virginian Tower is itself, bounded by Virginia, Second, Sierra, and First, does need a lot of work, though. If we could find a developer willing to, I think, with some modifications, that block could be converted into a small but decent retail space. The old Riverboat and the Nevadan Towers are already physically connected to each other from the days when the Nevadan Tower was part of the Riverboat. A lot of space in those buildings could be easily converted to retail for a few stores. If they were developed along with the JC Penny and Woolworth's buildings, that could develop into a magnet for downtown, and would compliment anything developed in the Freight House District.

Posted by: Renoite - 4/19/2010 8:20:40 AM
I know this sounds crazy, but I would like to see the casino portion of Silver Legacy completely gutted, and have Circus Circus, Eldorado and Silver Legacy merge into one giant hotel resort with the Silver Legacy being the entertainment portion. Build the roller coaster in the dome, turn the casino floor into an amusement area Vegas style, and let Circus Circus and Eldorado be the casino portions of the resort.

Posted by: remano - 4/19/2010 11:59:24 AM
"if I were Cal Neva, I'd cut my losses with the Nevadan Tower and move the hotel rooms to the Virginian Tower," You are right that they did formerly occupy the Virginian including casino space on the ground floor. My understanding is that they don't own the building and couldn't come to terms with the owners for continued operations, so they closed it up when their lease expired. It does seem to make more sense than having the hotel across the street, but I guess it just wasn't profitable.

Posted by: Blake Crosby - 4/19/2010 4:06:11 PM
Silver Legacy and Eldorado should demolish the skywalk to Circus Circus. Circus Circus is bringing them down. It's trashy plain and simple. Build a wall there and disassociate from that bizarre kiddie-land casino. What about Harrahs too? Harrahs needs a nightclub. Beer pong? Seriously? Beer pong? Beer pong? Beer pong? Beer pong?

Posted by: Blake Crosby - 4/19/2010 4:10:44 PM
Oh, and how about a decent Chinese restaurant downtown? Seriously, there has to be thousands of Chinese tourists from the bay and all they got is a Chinese section of the menu at the diners??? Chi at Peppermill is putting them to shame. Well, Peppermill is just putting them all to shame period.

Posted by: Wiley_n_reno - 4/19/2010 4:35:35 PM
I think some French firm owns the Virginian tower next to the Cal Neva and they've been "trying" to sell it for 5 years or so. Maybe it's some tax investment write-off for somebody? Seems a waste to have it dark.

Posted by: Matt - 4/19/2010 7:47:58 PM
There are some hole-in-the-wall chinese restaurants downtown, but not super nice ones like the Chi, and I agree, Peppermill is putting everyone in this town to shame gaming wise. But I do agree with most of the commentators on here, Circus is really kind of dumpy, back in 2007 Las Vegas based Olympia Gaming, before the collapse, attemped to buy the hotel and was going to remodel it entirely, too bad the sale fell apart, MGM then was going to invest into it, but being in the debt they're in, it wasn't sensical so they went ahead and invested into their Vegas Circus. So that's the story of Circus, it's my beleif MGM is just sitting on Circus Reno and will likely get rid of it at some point, there is just no market for casinos right now. Nobody has any money, period.

Posted by: Anakin-Marc - 4/19/2010 7:49:44 PM
That's all well and good separating Circus Circus from Eldorado and Silver Legacy, except that MGM-Mirage, the corporation that owns Circus Circus, is also the majority owner of Silver Legacy. If anybody was to be separated, it would be the minority owner, Eldorado.

Posted by: Steve Herschbach - 4/20/2010 11:45:17 PM
Hi, I was in Reno a few weeks ago. I live in Alaska. I stayed at the Silver Legacy, and visited the Eldorado, Circus Circus, and Harrahs.I also walked from the Legacy to Old Southwest three times as I am buying a property there. So I have a vested interest, and an outside view. The Legacy room was ok. Not one of the new ones. I had no issue with it. But there were no basics I get elsewhere like a coffee maker. The only thing I did not like was having to pay for internet access. I really do not like that! Eldorado seemed fine - may stay there next time. Circus Circus? I'm part attracted and part repelled by the the area that reminded me of a state fair. Might be fun to do but I'd not stay there. The walk over to Harrahs. Look, I feel for the homeless people. Really. But they know that short walk is where to be to hit up the visitors. Not what people want to experience on vacation. My walk to Old Southwest put me through a few blocks of stuff that was obviously closed up etc. But reasonably clean. I like that in Reno and HATE it at ground level Vegas. Give me clean and I'll not ding you much on an empty building or two or three. Riverwalk area? The reason I am investing in Reno in a questionable market! I love the river area. You want people to wander around the core casino area just keep it clean. No trash. Fake up the empty buildings by getting rid of old signs and maybe a little paint here and there. 80% results with 20% investments. And as a community put the money in the hat to move the panhandlers out of the core area. I'll do it when I get down there. A few more shops would be nice but the times are not good. Make people feel ok walking around and more reason to have a little shop downtown.

Posted by: Gorillaman - 4/21/2010 1:13:31 PM
Alright!!!! My kind of discussion... first lets start with saying that the Peppermill has done an outstanding job competing against other casinos in the reno/sparks area followed by the Atlantis. Now about the Downtown casinos it looks like they just randomly hope some miracle is going to happen n der gonna get a lot of tourists all of a sudden....well dat is not gonna happen unless they realize their casinos look like S&*t and they need to do something about it. the circus casino and the harrahs are the crappiest of the four major ones downtown. circus either needs to be completely be remodeled from top to bottom with interior and exterior work, bought up by a major corporation with an interest to actually invest in the property, or either demolish it and sale off the property to someone who will make a better use of the land and build something eye catching to the world like an amusement park, or A huge mega resort. and as for harrahs your on the same page as the circus. Now i do see that there could be a lot of potential downtown and one of the major projects that remain critical to the revival of downtown life is the Tessera Project becuase it looks like the developers were actually thinking about the future of this city and looking out for its residents, i totally like their idea of bringing in some shops and hotels downtown to an area that really needs to be redeveloped. This is an ambitious project on a grand scale which reno people want to see more of and hope to see in the near future. ... I definitely agree that there is also alot of work that needs to be put in the blocks where the Virginian tower, Nevdan tower, and the old riverboat stood. Its a shame for the city that this area is being under utilized because i think that these properties can be bought up by major vegas corporations and turned into major money making properties...how about building a Borgata in this spot??? if olympia gaming is willing to invest big in the sparks area with their legends bay resort coming in the future i think its time for others to step up to the plate...becuase the economic recovery is right around the corner.. i think that what Reno really needs is for someone to start a building- boom and others will follow just like Steve Wynn did in Vegas....anddddd have u guys seen the plans the developers have for the old park lane mall place....?????? well let me tell u in my opinion they are dumb, boring and more of the same for this area... those dumb shops they wanna put their look like the shops across the street!!!!!!...they look like shoppers square mall..this land is right in the centerof reno,, right in front of the main Virginia street between the south casinos n downtown ..n this is all their plannin to build???? someone ought to punch them for me please... they are not using the land to its full potential... at least put something fascinating ...how about bringing in the whole concept like vegas did of a fashion show mall or a hotel with a brigde...becuase to me it seems like having to park n walk arounnd from shop to shop has already been done in this area with legends n the summit n trust me i dnt think ppl want to see that in reno anymore...its cold here ...they need to start thinkin bout dat..

Posted by: Downtown Makeover Dude - 4/21/2010 1:21:35 PM
Great comment thread! Gorillaman I agree with you on everything except...I dig Shoppers Square...its a funky mall that has a surprisingly low vacancy rate in a city full of half-empty strip malls out on the fringe of town. I love the Kona Girl store in that mall. I agree with you about Park Lane Promenades plans, but in some ways it looks similar to Legends, at least they grouped all their stores together near the Theater. Maybe a hybrid between Summit and Legends. But, the project was supposed to start in 2009 and havent heard a peep from that group lately. So perhaps plans will change a bit before anything is actually built. The trend nationally is outdoor strolling-type malls...developers are shying away from enclosed megamalls, a strange concept to me since I love the fully-enclosed megamalls in Los Angeles like the Beverly Center.

Posted by: Blake Crosby - 4/21/2010 5:37:58 PM
I wouldn't put Harrahs in the same boat as Circus. Harrahs has better dining, newer carpets, overall looks cleaner and newer. Circus is more like CalNeva. And even if Silver Legacy is owned by the same people as Circus, they have become two separate and distinct classes of hotels and casinos. If I owned both, I'd tear down the skywalk between them and keep the two clientele separate as well as the brand identities. It's like Toyota, you don't see a car that is half Lexus in front and half Toyota in back. Doesn't work unless you stick your kids in back and tell them they're not good enough to sit in a Lexus. Finally, it's all good and dandy saying other people should invest hundred of millions in downtown Reno casinos or developments, but would you personally put up $10K? $100K? Didn't anyone learn their lesson from the condo crash downtown? There isn't enough people downtown or in Reno who want to live downtown. This isn't San Francisco or even Sacramento, and even in Sacramento, not a lot of people want to live in their downtown. Reno will recover slowly, and more and more people will live and invest in downtown, but begging casinos to jump start it is living in the past dude.

Posted by: Patricia - 4/21/2010 8:16:38 PM
It is very much the responsibility of the hotels downtown to help jumpstart Reno's tourism economy again. I came up to Reno for a Sacramento Cats Aces Game, and we decided to stay at Harrah's because it was close to the ball park. The place was 'ok' nothing to write home about. A mediocre arcade for our children, who love baseball and wanted to cheer the Cats. So we walk to the Aces park, and for some reason 2nd Street was blocked off so we walked north on what I think is called Lake Street to walk around that empty lot to the stadium, and we stumbled upon a strip club (really classy for children to see), some really frightening people around a construction site north of the Aces park, then my younger child pointed out all the people 'camping' beyond a fenced off area next to the sunken tracks, and finally we made it to the park. We have homeless people too, they concentrate along Sacramento River. But they are not next to our ball park nor are they around the areas we draw tourists to. I live in Old Sacramento and we don't have near the amount of riff raff. That's what I think Reno needs to work on.

Posted by: Pat F - 4/21/2010 8:59:29 PM
To Patricia. Sacamento is a beautiful town and has lots of things Reno could stive to emmulate. But just to put a perspective on the homeless shelter and tent city across the train trench from Aces Ballpark, only 1/3rd of those receiving services there are from Reno/Sparks. One third are from Las Vegas and the other third are from (surprise, surprise) Sacramento. These statistics came from the manager of the Community Assistance Center in an address to the City Council several months ago. There is a fine line between giving basic services and providing an area and services so comfortable that they attract outsiders.

Posted by: Uncle Tom - 4/28/2010 12:03:04 PM
I spent the day this past Saturday in Reno, while looking at property up the Mount Rose Road a ways. I drove downtown and walked around the casino center. I am in town every few months. Harrah's was much busier than in my last several visits, two crap tables crowded, lots of slot players--so maybe things are picking up. The sad sight of my walk was the Fitz building beneath the arch. That needs to be re-opened somehow, or it will pull the rest of the Virginia Street casino center under like a heavy anchor.


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