Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada, announced the largest private capital investment in the city’s history. The funds will add a sports arena, entertainment district and likely more hotel rooms to the 140-acre property.
Over the next decade, the existing Grand Sierra Resort and Casino will receive a $1 billion investment, including a new 10,000-seat sports arena, a golf facility and 300 waterfront residential units. An 800-room hotel tower is also being evaluated for the site.
The arena will be the “centerpiece” of the project, Grand Sierra Resort said in a statement. Upon completion, the sports facility will span approximately 300,000 square feet and offer suites and premium hospitality clubs.
The resort is exploring a partnership with the Nevada men’s basketball team to make the arena its home, though the complex could be used for concerts and other sporting events as well, Grand Sierra Resort said.
The arena will be the first of its scale in Reno, attracting A-list stars to its stage, Andrew Diss, chief strategy officer for Meruelo Gaming, which operates Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, told Hotel Dive.
The development plan also includes an entertainment district with a promenade and a water show similar to that at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, Diss said.
Diss expects increased tourism to Reno because of the project, with more people coming to see special events and concerts from across the country than before. According to Diss, Grand Sierra Resort and Casino primarily sees guests from Northern California, but he expects the development to attract travelers from all markets that have a direct flight into Reno.
Other hoteliers in the city, Diss shared, agree that tourism will likely rise, and they anticipate increased occupancies from the project.
“Before we made our public announcement, we gave the other [hotel operators] in our market a heads up, saying, ‘Hey, this is what we have coming,’ and when I was describing the size of the arena, one of the other hotel [operators] said, ‘Oh, we’re gonna get rooms from what you guys are building. Let’s do it. How can we help you?’” Diss said.
“We’re just not going to be able to accommodate everybody that might be coming to the new venue to see a show, so there’s going to be a lift for all the other hotel operators here in Reno,” he added.
To accommodate this anticipated traveler surge, Grand Sierra Resort could build a new hotel tower, adding to the property’s existing 2,000 guest rooms and suites. The tower, Diss said, is not set in stone yet, and the resort will evaluate if it’s economically feasible once other aspects of the project are completed, likely in six or more years. If built, it will be during the final phase of the project, Diss said.
The entire project is expected to take nearly a decade to complete. Architecture and planning firm Gensler is working on the initial stages now, and ground will likely officially break in fall 2024, Diss said.