|By Brianna Lange, The Salt Lake
TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 15, 2008 - Peppermill Hotel Casino will build a $400 million "mini-Bellagio" casino and resort in Wendover, the city that straddles the border of Nevada and Utah, the company said Friday.
The city gets the majority of its business from the Wasatch Front, and Utah's strong economy and anticipated growth has prevented the casinos from seeing the lower gaming rates that the rest of Nevada is experiencing, said West Wendover, Nev., City Manager Chris Melville.
The new casino is still in the planning stages, but will most likely have an upscale Italian Mediterranean theme with fountains, said Peppermill spokesman John Spillman. It will be similar to the Italian-themed Las Vegas Bellagio casino, which is known for its large fountains.
Plans for the new casino include a 1,200-room hotel, which will make it the largest in the city. The current largest casino is the Wendover Nugget, which has about 500 rooms.
Peppermill, which owns the Montego Bay, Rainbow and Peppermill casinos in West Wendover, will start construction on the new casino as soon as the expansion of its other casinos is completed, which Spillman estimates to be in 2010 or 2011. The company is adding 120 rooms to Montego Bay, and in 2009 will start construction on a 300-room expansion of the Rainbow.
The new casino will be between the Peppermill and Montego Bay casinos, and the company also will fund a reconstruction that will move Wendover Boulevard, the street that runs alongside the casinos, to the south, said Spillman.
"In the area where we've purchased the land, I-80 comes through and veers south, railroad tracks veer north, and it creates a bottleneck. Wendover Boulevard dissects those parcels," said Spillman.
But Peppermill's big plans for Wendover won't just affect the gambling side of the city, said Melville.
"Whatever we do on the Nevada side [of the city] has slight positive impact on the Utah side. As we add more population, the businesses on the Utah side will have more customers. The new facility will employ up to 900 people, which will add new people to the community," said Melville.
Melville hopes that as more people move to Wendover, the city will be known as something other than a gambling destination for Utahns.
"We are working toward a diversification of business, so it's not just about gaming. We have an industrial park, and with more people moving to the city, we'll see other businesses," he said.
West Wendover, Nev., casinos
Peppermill: 300 rooms
Rainbow: 429 rooms
Montego Bay: 437 rooms, 75 suites
Red Garter: 100
Wendover Nugget: 500
Rooms to be added
Peppermill's new casino: 1,200
Montego Bay: 120
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