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Sale of Hacienda finalized

The Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday approved a gaming license for Nevada Restaurant Services Inc., which is remodeling the Hacienda into Hoover Dam Lodge, a national park-style lodge overlooking Lake Mead.

Craig Estey, Nevada Restaurant Services CEO and owner and founder of Dotty’s taverns, said the sale of the 32-acre site divided by U.S. Highway 93 was finalized Monday.

The rehab’s phase one will cost $7 million and include gutting the interior and installing windows around the exterior.

Estey said he bought the property from Las Vegas-based Lakeview Partner­ship, but declined to name the price.

The remodeling’s first phase will take six to eight months, he said. He wants to convert a “Spanish casino into a national park lodge.”

He plans to add more rooms to the current 289 in the 17-story building, he said, adding that the lodge’s signage is expected to go up during the summer.

A travel center and gift shop will be built on the side of U.S. 93 opposite the lake, along with a pedestrian bridge connecting the sides. There will be space for a campground and RVs.

Estey said he wants to market the lodge to tourists and locals, and it will include a sports bar.

The Hacienda, built on the site of the Gold Strike Casino that burned down in 1998, will remain open through the remodeling, Estey said.

However, the casino closed Tuesday and was expected to reopen Sunday, allowing the company to install equipment tying the gaming machines to Dotty’s casino management-player rewards system.

Of the Hacienda’s 230 employees, 150 will continue at Hoover Dam Lodge. The other 80 will be transferred to other Dotty’s properties or will be on a list to be rehired after the initial phase is completed.

Estey created the Dotty’s business model in Oregon and brought the concept to Nevada in 1995. In addition to the tavern business, Dotty’s is the slot machine route operator for gaming areas inside Nevada-based Food 4 Less and Kmart stores.

Estey said there are 120 Dotty’s sites across Nevada.

Alan Snel can be reached at asnel@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5273.

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