Carson Station planning expansion

Carson Station is looking to the city for room to expand, with a proposed closure of Ninth Street between Curry and Nevada streets and a three-phase parking and casino enlargement.

Casino CEO Steve Bilyeu said a four-level parking garage is fundamental to the project. Without the parking, he said, the next phases -- a 50 percent increase in casino floor space and a new building to the north -- will not be worth the investment.

"In spite of what we read about Reno and Las Vegas (gaming), we feel confident about our future in Carson City," he said. "We are developing a niche market with golf groups, bowlers and others.

"We can use the casino to attract California customers."

The Carson Station is also entertaining the prospect of building a pedestrian walkway from an upper floor on the casino, across Curry Street to the new parking garage. The Ormsby House is planning similar development two blocks to the north. The project includes a proposed closure of seventh street between Carson and Curry streets.

Parking has long been a problem with Carson Station. If the garage is built according to plans, the current 100-space lot bordering Curry and Ninth would be able to handle 337 vehicles.

"It will give us a parking capacity now and extra for future development," Bilyeu said.

He said the casino would like to break ground on the project by the beginning of November, preserving the integrity of the hotel/casino until the end of the summer season. They hope to have the garage done by the end of winter.

The Carson City Planning Commission approved the abandonment of that portion of Ninth Street on Wednesday. It will have to receive future approval from Carson City supervisors.

Phase two of the upgrade will likely take the form of an eastward expansion of the main casino building out to Carson Street. With inside improvements, including a remodel of the existing restaurant, gaming floor space is expected to double.

The casino is still working with architects and Metcalf Builders Inc. to develop plans for the casino expansion, as well as a second building to the north in the existing parking lot.

The dimensions for those projects have not yet been finalized, although Bilyeu said the casino has talked about building them concurrently.

During the eastward expansion, the casino will likely keep the current casino intact while building the structure on the outside.

The plan would allow the casino to stay open for business during construction.

The Carson Station is owned by Clark Russell and Capital City Entertainment Inc., which also owns the Pi-on Plaza and the Station Grill.

Since the Pi-on Plaza opened in 1995 on Highway 50 East, that is where the company's efforts have been focused. Bilyeu said. Now, with completion of expansions in the hotel and casino, Carson Station is due for an update. It was built in 1976.


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