The Peppermill Hotel/Casino announced plans for a major expansion today, a $230 million project that will include a new hotel tower, convention center and parking garage.
It's been a number of years since we've seen anything this size.
And today's announcement could signal a turning point of sorts for the Reno market.
There's more than one way to view today's announcement. It is fundamentally a compelling business success story.
Few hotel casinos begin life as a coffee shop. The Peppermill did and after 30 years of expansion projects is one of Reno's biggest and making plans to grow again to more than 16 hundred rooms with a new Tuscan-themed tower, a 50 thousand square foot convention center, a parking garage and some new attractions. But today's announcement may also herald some other trends.
For a few years now the northern Nevada gaming market has been flat. With Indian gaming taking off in northern California conventional wisdom has been that there was little future for expansion here.
Peppermill executives said today they were approached about joint ventures with out of state tribes on 3 occasions and they said they chose to invest their attention here at home.
And the Peppermill's plans may be good news for the convention center just down the street. Reno's hotel casino industry has always been centered downtown and over the decades. Downtown interests have worked hard to keep it that way. One consequence has been that the convention center has often been isolated empty. Convention organizers like to have hotel rooms nearby with blocks of rooms available elsewhere for city wide conventions. Previous Atlantis and Peppermill expansions have helped change that equation.
The Peppermill's latest plans shift the local tourism industry's center of gravity, a little farther south.