Construction workers at the Pinon Plaza Hotel Casino broke ground Monday on an 84-room expansion.
The expansion comes about three years ahead of schedule for the casino, which is expanding due to "excellent business," said Clark Russell, president of Capitol City Entertainment, which owns the Pinon Plaza.
"This was the best year in the history of our company," Russell said. "We're three years ahead of our plan to expand. Our business dictates that we build more rooms. We're booking more commercial business, group business and more tourists to our Best Western hotel."
Contractor Shaw Construction Co. of Carson City should have the $4 million expansion completed by Memorial Day 2000. The expansion will feature 23 suites, hotel rooms with bedrooms and living areas, and 13 of the suites will feature Jacuzzis. About 2,200 feet of convention space is being added as well, Russell said.
Capitol City Entertainment, which also owns the Best Western Carson Station Hotel Casino and Station Grill & Rotisserie, started the Pinon Plaza in 1995 as a casino and 32-lane bowling center. In 1996 the company added a 72-space parking lot, and in 1998 increased service with 65 Best Western-affiliated hotel rooms.
The Plaza located on Highway 50 East partially because of future business tied to the freeway, said Pinon Plaza Chief Executive Officer Steve Bilyeu.
"We built out here anticipating this would be a good location because of the bypass," Bilyeu said. "Our expectations reliant on the bypass, but we can see now that we're doing better than expected without the bypass.
"We built our first hotel about a year and a half ago, and the occupancy was greater than we expected. So much so that it justifies the addition of the extra rooms. We're pleased with the way this end of town has developed."
Bilyeu said the addition will provide "quality accommodations and jobs in Carson City." The hotel will hire about 30 extra people with the expansion, Bilyeu said. The hotel casino sits on 17.5 acres of land, so there's plenty of room for future expansions as business grows, Russell said. Bilyeu said the next expansion would probably be an expansion of the casino in 2002.
Carson City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Larry Osborne said the expansions show the strength of tourism in the area.
"I think this is a great deal for Carson City," Osborne said. "They wouldn't be expanding if they didn't feel their current business wasn't successful."