Silver Legacy Resort Casino
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|Silver Legacy Resort Casino|
|Address||407 North Virginia Street
Reno, Nevada 89501
|Opening date||July 28, 1995|
|Theme||Victorian – 19th century|
|No. of rooms||1,720|
|Total gaming space||85,000 sq ft (7,900 m2)|
|Permanent shows||Laser Light Show|
|Signature attractions||120 ft Mining Rig|
|Notable restaurants||Sterling's Seafood Steakhouse
Fairchild's Oyster Bar
|Owner||MGM Resorts International and Eldorado Resorts LLC|
|Years renovated||2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011|
Silver Legacy Resort & Casino is a hotel and casino located in Reno, Nevada, it opened on July 28, 1995. It anchors a network of connected hotel-casinos in the downtown Reno core that included jointly owned properties Eldorado Hotel Casino and Circus Circus Reno. Silver Legacy is a 50/50 partnership between Eldorado Resorts LLC and MGM Resorts International with MGM holding majority stake at 51%. Eldorado Resorts manages the property.
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In 1992, two lifelong friends Don Carano, a Reno attorney and CEO/Chairman of the Eldorado Hotel Casino and Clyde Turner, a Las Vegas native and CEO of Circus Circus Enterprises, joined together to design Reno's newest and most spectacular resort. So large, it would indeed take a joint venture to get it done. This was nothing new for the time, many competing gaming companies would join together and build large resorts to both reap from the rewards they would bring. Las Vegas was growing and overtaking Reno with larger and more lavish casino-hotels, Carano, who would become the public face of the project, wanted to bring Reno back in the game with a similar style, competitive casino-resort. On May 19, 1993 the plan was announced. "Project C" would include two large towers containing 2,000 rooms and a large casino with a theme park in its center. A Spanish theme would flow throughout the resort. Its cost was projected at $230 Million. On July 22, 1993, the special use permit was approved to go ahead with the construction. Project C would be built on land owned by Carano, two city blocks. Creating a "downtown synergy" linking the new resort with Eldorado and Circus Circus, the two joint venture partners. The City of Reno shot down the theme park idea before construction began, so the partners rethought the design and replaced it with a giant Spanish castle attraction. Turner would eventually kill off the Spanish theme citing it was too expensive, Carano would agree. They replaced it with a more fitting theme to truly befit the community. They chose Victorian/19th century after construction began in early 1994.
Project C would go on to construction, it was built during one of Reno's harshest winters in 1994. The interior needed to be enclosed multiple times which was costly and timely.
Don Carano and Clyde Turner announced the official name of the resort on December 15, 1994. Following a citywide competition to name Reno's newest resort in more than a decade. The winner "Silver Legacy" was announced in grand fashion and coincided with the topping off ceremony of the resort. At 38 stories, it redefined the city skyline of Reno. Its striking architecture was similar to the megaresorts being constructed in Las Vegas.
On March 21, 1995, the partners leased out Lawlor Events Center for a job fair for the new resort. Applicants turned out in the thousands. In June, the Nevada Gaming Commission approved the gaming permit for the resort. The finishing touches were applied and on July 28, 1995. A massive grand opening was staged with the conclusion being a massive fireworks show and the Reno Philharmonic playing on Virginia Street. Thousands poured in to fill the new resort. Gawking at the details, the ornate finishes and new hotel-casino smell. The grand opening helped Eldorado and Circus Circus too, both packed as visitors walked between the three resorts.
Silver Legacy became a boon icon for the Biggest Little City after its completion, driving gaming wins through the roof from 1996-2000. Not everyone was in favor of their new neighbor, initially the owners of the Sands Regency didn't support it touting it would take away from their business but would later come to support it. And an iconic casino in Downtown for years, simply couldn't compete, Harolds Club closed its doors four months before the Silver Legacy opened. But the closure certainly didn't overshadow the massive grand opening.
Don Carano's eldest son served as CEO of the property and later on, his next eldest son, Glenn, would join the executive team at the resort. Silver Legacy also made the big screen, first in "Kingpin" in 1996 starring Woody Harlson and Bill Murray showcasing the newest attractions of Reno, the Silver Legacy and the nearby National Bowling Stadium, too completed in 1995. Glenn Carano made a short appearance in the film and many scenes were shot inside the resort. Later, in 2002, Waking up in Reno starring Patrick Swayze and Natasha Richardson, also filmed inside Silver Legacy.
Silver Legacy's completion spawned a major land grab around Downtown Reno anticipating growth, as its construction was sort of intended to kick off such a movement, but that failed to materialize. Silver Legacy's construction was completed rapidly but it wasn't without pitfalls, during the construction of the large dome structure, a gas line was severed and by this time, the dome had already been enclosed. The scare forced evacuations at Circus Circus and halted construction for a very short period. After opening, birds trapped within the dome that flew in during the enclosure process, visitors thought they were part of the attraction.
2012 bankruptcy and emergence; future plans
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On February 9, 2012 it was announced Silver Legacy owes on their mortgage notes. $142 million in debt according to an SEC filing, the joint partnership company created in 1993 is responsible. Rumors flew with the media that if not restructured, the Silver Legacy was in danger of closing. Seeing that gaming has become such an International business, business in Reno at the Silver Legacy has slowed to a crawl that the property isn't viable anymore. General Manager Gary Carano stated that in fact Silver Legacy business is "doing well" and they are continuing to lead as one of Northern Nevada's premier resorts. He went on to say the refinancing will be beneficial for the resort's long term success and the joint venture company. Silver Legacy and its financial partners have worked out a deal to restructure by April 30, 2012, the deal includes the joint venture partners coming up with $15 million each to subsidize and a new loan issued to pay off the remaining amount. If that deal should fall apart, the Silver Legacy would likely be foreclosed upon, a final extension is possible should the deal fall through. Negotiations were successful as Silver Legacy is one of the most profitable casinos in the region and a destination attraction to the Reno marketplace. In May 2012, as negotiations were unsuccessful in restructuring, Silver Legacy's company Circus and Eldorado joint venture filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection in order to extend negotiations with little interruptions and so business could go on as usual during the busy summer 2012 season. No layoffs or changes in management resulted during the bankruptcy process and the Silver Legacy enjoyed a healthy summer season cash flow wise.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of the partners, Eldorado Resorts LLC and Circus Circus (MGM Resorts) an agreement was made to pay off creditors and a new $70 million loan was granted from Wells Fargo. Thus on October 23, 2012, the Silver Legacy announced that just after only five months in bankruptcy would emerge a clear company with a more "reasonable" balance sheet. With the cloud of financial problems behind them, CEO Gary Carano announced major changes for 2013 including a revamping of mostly all of their restaurants that including new additions such as a 24 hour Starbucks and Hussongs Cantina, the reputable Mexican Cantina with its founding location in Ensenada, Mexico. Other changes include upgrades to some areas of the property and new marketing and advertising. The familiar green exterior night illumination also is coming back replacing the blue that initially replaced the green back in November of 2010. Carano said these changes are being made to sort of return the resort to its glory of the grand opening days. Most of the changes will be completed in May 2013.