Brothel opens its doors for the first time Friday |

Brothel opens its doors for the first time Friday

by Susie Vasquez, Appeal Staff Writer

MUSTANG — Wild Horse Canyon Ranch and Spa opened for business at 6 p.m. Friday after crews spent the day adding last-minute touches to Storey County’s first new brothel in 18 years.

“We’re sincere about creating elegance, quality and safety for our customers,” co-owner Lance Gilman said. “This will be a world class operation and I’d like to think that Europeans will take note.”

The brothel is situated against a desert landscape in Storey County’s River District . The unobtrusive frame structure backs up against a shallow canyon and a berm with trees is planned to make the brothel invisible from Highway 80, just across the river.

The Truckee River winds just to the north of the property, a cluster of cottonwoods on its banks.

The place was buzzing by mid-afternoon, the desert stillness interrupted by shovels and caterpillars as they dug, smoothed, and prepared the road. Construction workers tiptoed around the newly-planted landscaping, delivering ice and drinks by the case and Susan Austin, manager and co-owner, was arranging flowers for the eight rooms. Each has a theme and is simply and tastefully decorated.

“I was raised in Europe and my way of thinking about prostitution is different,” she said. “It’s more accepted there, not hidden away in the dark. The girls there work in more beautiful surroundings and I want to make this a more enjoyable place to work.”

She said the girls, most from out-of-state, rotate through the facility in 7- to10-day shifts.

“Modern-day prostitution is a far cry from historic practices, when brothels were run more like penal colonies. Nevada is the only state strong enough to legalize the industry, making it both safe and clean,” she said. “There are rigid health standards. I’m a strong advocate for legal prostitution and I’m even more passionate about eliminating illicit drugs. We need to get girls off the street and into the houses, where it’s safe and private.”

Friday’s opening was but a precursor to the main attraction. Construction has just begun on the main facility, a million-dollar, 50,000-square-foot complex with 44 rooms, 24-foot beamed ceilings, a full commercial kitchen, dining facilities, a sports bar, swimming pool, jacuzzis and saunas.

The infrastructure, including sewer, water, power and roads are completed and Gilman expects the foundation to be poured next week. He said the facility should be completed later in the year.

Austin has temporarily converted her private residence, part of the development, into a small house with eight working rooms until the complex is finished.

Storey officials said the brothel is expected to generate about $300,000 in annual tax revenue, replacing that lost when the U.S. Treasury closed the nearby Mustang Ranch brothel in 1999.