The owners of the Ormsby House on Wednesday won initial state support for a slot-machine bar in their parking garage while they continue remodeling the main hotel-casino.
Allan Fiegehen said they plan to open the Ormsby Winchester Club in the unused ground floor section of the parking garage originally intended for casino administrative offices. He told the Nevada Gaming Control Board almost no one knew the space existed.
"We think it was designed for future offices for the hotel but was never put to use," he said.
The area totals 5,000 square feet on the south side of the parking garage that is being converted into a bar and area for 125 slot machines.
He said they should be ready to open in 12 weeks to get local customers accustomed to coming back to the Ormsby House.
"We want to try reclaim the local market we had before it closed," he said.
Fiegehen and partner Donald Lehr told the control board the club will be called the Winchester in honor of a collection of commemorative Old West rifles they have purchased for display there.
It will employ about 30 people and be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Meanwhile, Fiegehen said work has grown in the main hotel as more and more problems were discovered.
"We've been tearing it apart completely," he said. "The hotel's been gutted down to the concrete -- no electrical, no plumbing."
He said they plan to completely rebuild the interior of the resort, enlarging the old rooms into suites by combining two rooms into one on most floors. When completed, they said there should be 127 rooms. The lowest two floors will be hotel rooms with suites above that -- the largest suits on the top floor.
They are now hoping to open for business July 4, 2003. But control board Chairman Dennis Neilander encouraged them to try get the hotel itself open by February -- in time for the start of the Legislature.
"We understand the importance of that and we'd like to do it if we can," said Lehr.
The resort will also include a health spa in the old rooftop pool area, which Fiegehen said it also being completely rebuilt.
The control board voted unanimously to recommend licensing for the slot club. The recommendation will be voted on by the Nevada Gaming Commission next week but is expected to receive the same treatment.
Fiegehen and Lehr will return to the board later for a full gaming license including table games.
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