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RENO, NV-The Reno City Council on Wednesday night approved Station Casinos’ plan for a 900-room hotel-casino on an 88-acre site at Mount Rose Highway and Virginia Street, about 10 miles south of the Downtown core. The approval included a special-use permits to exceed the 55-foot height limit with three 225-foot-tall hotel towers and build a 165,000-sf casino, which is double the size allowed outright.

A construction timeline for the estmated $500-million project has not yet been announced, but the resort is expected to take two years to design. The Council’s approval requires that building permits for the first phase must be obtained within three years and permits for all phases must be obtained within 10 years.

If built, Mt. Rose Station would be one of the first large hotel-casinos to be built in the Reno area in more than a decade. The development would total 3 million sf and include a 150,000-sf Bass Pro Shop outdoors gear store.

The Redfield Regional Center plan, approved last December, allows only one casino to be built. A source with Station Casinos tells GlobeSt.com that the company acquired two different parcels encompassed by the Redfield Regional Plan and ultimately decided on the property at Mount Rose Highway and Virginia Street because it was further away from residential developments. Station Casinos also owns an eight-acre parcel across from the Reno-Sparks Convention Center with plans for a boutique hotel-casino.

Speaking of Sparks, which lies a short ways east of Reno, Olympia gaming is planning a $500-million casino resort on 12 acres on the Western edge of RED Development’s Legends at Sparks Marina, a 100-acre outdoor shopping and entertainment development being developed on Helms Lake.

RED principal Dan Lowe told GlobeSt.com in July that the 800,000- to 1 million-sf retail center should break ground this fall and open around the end of 2007. The first phase of the casino should open in late 2008 or early 2009. The first phase will include 500 luxury guestrooms in a 25-story hotel tower, a 65,000-sf casino, 50,000 sf of restaurant space, a 20,000-sf spa, 30,000 sf of meeting space and a 1,250-stall parking garage.

The second phase, a second 25-story hotel tower, would double the number of hotel rooms and expand the casino, meeting and dining facilities. A private beach and an amphitheater that would feature a water show of some sort also are planned as part of the development.

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