Commission on Tourism Approves Grants
The Nevada Commission on Tourism (NCOT) approved $700,000 in grants to help rural communities promote attractions and events for visitors. Grants help communities improve Web sites, buy advertising, create promotional materials, improve tourism trade-shows and obtain services to develop visitor attractions. The Rural Grant Program began in 1984 and distributes grants to Nevada’s six tourism “territories.” They are awarded each year in June and December.
Nevada Casino Garners Safety Honor
The Safety Consultation and Training Section (SCATS) of the State of Nevada’s Division of Industrial Relations has recognized Jim Kelley’s Tahoe Nugget Casino, located in Crystal Bay on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, for successful completion of the Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). The no-cost SHARP program is designed to assist small employers (those with less than 250 employees) develop and implement effective safety and health programs. SHARP assists businesses to improve their return on investments, be in compliance with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations and create added safety and health by reducing accident costs.
NNDA Releases Results of Regional Study
The Northern Nevada Development Authority recently announced the results of a study on the condition of businesses in an area that includes Lyon, Douglas and Storey counties and Carson City. The study found that, overall, businesses in the four counties are thriving and are satisfied with their counties and their ability to expand in their current location. Four key findings from the study include:
Businesses are growing and are generally positive about the county in which they are located.
A large majority of companies introduced new products in the past five years and plan to introduce additional new products in the next two years.
A majority of companies expect to see increases in total sales and market share.
Most companies plan to expand in the next three years and see no barriers at their current location.
APEX Awards Announced
Governor Kenny Guinn, Lieutenant Governor Lorraine Hunt and Nevada Quality Alliance (NvQA) president John Zedick recently honored the recipients of the 2005 Governor’s Award for Performance Excellence (APEX). The award is based on national Malcolm Balridge Quality Award Criteria, the nation’s highest honor for quality and organizational performance excellence. The 2005 APEX recipients are Peppermill Hotel and Casino (Reno), Las Vegas Valley Water District (Las Vegas), Boeing Aerospace Support (Fallon) and Spring Valley Medical Center (Las Vegas). Special awards recipients are Peppermill Hotel and Casino (Reno) for community support, Las Vegas Valley Water District for quality leadership and Boeing Aerospace Support (Fallon) for customer service.
Harrah’s Concludes Real Estate Deals
Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. announced it signed a definitive agreement to sell the Flamingo Laughlin Hotel and Casino and an undeveloped land parcel in Atlantic City to affiliates of American Real Estate Partners, LP for $170 million in cash. The sale is subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals, but Harrah’s expects this transaction to close in mid-2006. Harrah’s also revealed it has completed its acquisition of the 2,640-room Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $370 million, following the unanimous consent of the Nevada Gaming Control Board. With the acquisition, Harrah’s Entertainment, Inc. now operates seven properties on the Las Vegas Strip including the Flamingo, Caesars Palace, Bally’s and Paris.
Nevada Banks to Merge
Western Alliance Bancorporation, the holding company for BankWest of Nevada, has inked an agreement to buy Intermountain First Bancorp, which owns Nevada First Bank. Nevada First Bank started operations in January 1998 and now has three locations in Las Vegas, one in Henderson and one in Reno, and has received approval to open a second Reno branch. BankWest has five locations, all in Southern Nevada. The $108 million purchase is subject to shareholder approval, but is expected to close in the second quarter of 2006.
Las Vegas Brand Recognized
Las Vegas was named one of the top five brands of 2005, according to the results of a consumer survey published at year-end by USA Today. The destination joins the ranks of favorite brands such as iPod, Google, Oprah Winfrey and eBay and beat out brands such as Xbox 360, Yahoo, Desperate Housewives and the National Football League (NFL). The second annual Newsmaker Brands survey asked 1,744 adult consumers to rank 61 of the biggest brand names on their performance in 2005 and prospects in the year ahead. The “What Happens Here, Stays Here” multi-faceted advertising and marketing campaign designed by R&R Partners to promote travel to Las Vegas is slated to continue through 2006.
Credit Union Distributes Record Dividends
Clark County Credit Union (CCCU) distributed a record-breaking $12.4 million dividend payment to its members on January 5, more than doubling the 2005 dividend payout of $5 million. The money was distributed based on the amount of interest paid or earned by each of the 36,000 members. The average dividend payment per member was $342.59, with the highest single payment totaling $51,000. CCCU serves Clark County employees, City of Henderson and City of Las Vegas employees, medical professionals, members of Nevada Public Radio and numerous selected employer groups. With assets of $525 million, it has five branches throughout Southern Nevada.
New Project Slated to Replace Stardust
Boyd Gaming Corporation recently announced that it will develop a multi-faceted resort complex on the 63-acre site on the Las Vegas Strip now occupied by the Stardust. The $4 billion development, to be named Echelon Place, is scheduled to open in early 2010. It will combine the $2.9 billion Echelon Resort, wholly owned by Boyd Gaming, with hotel and retail joint ventures with strategic partners. Plans for the site include four hotels with 5,300 guest rooms and suites, a convention center that will bring the total meeting and exhibition space at Echelon Place to more than 1 million square feet, and 350,000 square feet of retail.