Verdi residents soon will have a new local dining and gaming option.
The handful of businesses located on Old Highway 40 have enjoyed an increased patronage from the influx of new Verdi residents, and the Verdi Grill House and Casino at Boomtown will be added to the mix in the first quarter of 2023.
The 10,000-square-foot building constructed by BLC Builders will include a 2,000-square-foot restaurant and bar, as well as outdoor patio seating. The facility is owned and operated by Boomtown and will be geared toward locals, said Rob Medeiros, chief executive officer and general manager of Boomtown.
“One of the nice things about (Boomtown) is that there is a lot of parking, but there is not a lot of up-close parking,” Medeiros said. “Here, there’s close parking on all sides of the building.”
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year, but the establishment itself won’t open until the first quarter of next year. Medeiros said once the facility is fully furnished, it likely will take some fine-tuning to ensure internal traffic patterns around banks of slot machines, the restaurant and restrooms all flow well.
“We will get it in and set up, and then we will have people come in and walk through to make sure we understand what we can do well and do quickly,” Medeiros said.
Some staff from the main Boomtown property will move over to work at the Verdi Grill House and Casino, which is expected to employ as many as 60, he added. The casino floor will be strictly slot machines, and smoking will be allowed. Menu items at the Grill House, meanwhile, will be elevated casual dining.
It’s the first project for general contractor BLC Builders, which is headed by Mark Folgner, a longtime senior project engineer with DevCon Construction. Folgner said the new building is a pre-engineered metal structure, and due to lengthy lead times that have become commonplace in the construction industry, BLC Builders and Boomtown executives worked hand-in-hand to pre-order key items such as mechanical equipment and structural steel before the ink was even dry on the contract. The floor underlayment system, critical for placement of slot machines, had a six-month lead time, so it also was ordered early, Folgner said.
Building materials started showing up in March, and Boomtown stored them on site prior to BLC’s April groundbreaking.
“There was a lot of anxiety on our end,” Medeiros said. “But we relied on (BLC), the architect and engineers to figure out the best way to do this given the environment.”
Having key construction materials on site helped the building construction advance rapidly, Folgner added.
“It helped with scheduling and it helped with budget,” he said. “As we were sitting there in the midst of material prices increasing 20 percent per month, Rob worked with us and with our subs.”
Long lead times also led to a redesign on the building’s roofing insulation. Instead of using rigid foam insulation above the exterior sheathing, materials which had a 30- to 40-week lead time, BLC Builders changed the plan and instead laid installation underneath the roof sheathing.
“That was due to the willingness of Boomtown to listen to us and work with us,” Folgner said.
The new casino and restaurant sit where the original truck stop at Boomtown was located – the gaming license for the new Verdi casino was grandfathered in from the truck stop. Medeiros said Boomtown executives considered several best uses for the land, and with the high volume of new homes already in the area and many more to come, a truck stop just wasn’t the best option.
New communities in Verdi include West Meadows, Meridian 120, a 242-unit apartment complex under construction by MBI, and the expansive Mortensen Ranch development on the south side of interstate 80.
“We tried to figure out what we could do here that would fit in with the community,” Medeiros said. “Things have changed out here. If you go back 20 years ago, there was basically Boomtown and the firehouse across Garson Road. But with the land being sold off and houses going in, there’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 3,000 homes planned.
“The truck stop didn’t fit well with that, but we knew there were going to be houses all around us.”
The site includes a future retail development of about 18,000 square feet split between two buildings. Tenants likely will be businesses that draw from travelers from Interstate 80 and the surrounding residential community, Medeiros said. Boomtown will wait for a bit more rooftops in the area to ensure retail tenants have a greater chance for success.
Boomtown had a special use permit to develop a truck stop on the west side of Cabellas, but instead chose to sell the roughly 27-acre parcel to Dermody Properties, which plans on constructing two additional industrial buildings at the site, Medeiros said.
This current round of growth further solidifies Boomtown’s presence in Verdi and adds additional revenue streams. Medeiros said the ownership group continues to reinvest in the property – the hotel rooms, lobby, gift shop, buffet and convenience store have all been refurbished in recent years, and the entertainment center is up next.