“A lot of people have talked about doing something like this but very few have actually done it,” Andre Carrier, COO of Eureka Casino Resort said about plans for the Rising Star Sports Ranch Resort taking shape at the old Mesquite Star hotel casino at the I-15 Exit 122 interchange on N. Sandhill Blvd. The Resort begins taking reservations this month with a planned opening in December 2016.
In an exclusive interview and tour of the project with Mesquite Local News, Carrier discussed Phase I of the multi-million dollar renovation for the 16 year-old building that’s been closed much of its existence.
“We are beginning with the end in mind and working in phases. In Phase I we are leveraging the investment that already exists in the surrounding sports venues and creating a central headquarters, if you will,” Carrier remarked. “The Rising Star’s location became fortuitous once we decided what to do.”
He was referring to nearby soccer fields, ball fields, golf courses and the Mesquite Rec Center. All those facilities play an important role in the 210-room resort hotel that will host sports tournaments and training camps and will serve as a hub for a wide spectrum of sports activities in the region.
“Unlike other facilities in Southern California, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Arizona, all of the sports fields and golf courses in Mesquite are located less than 10 minutes away. We want to create a hotel resort that feeds on that,” he said.
Work on the renovation is progressing at a rapid pace. Fourth floor rooms are already receiving a final coat of paint. Other rooms are filled with construction workers, electricians and plumbers. And the building’s central area has been stripped to bare walls and open ceilings.
Dispelling a myth associated with the old hotel Carrier explained that “the building was quite healthy when we bought it in 2013. It had been maintained very well. We had some water leakage problems in the central area roof but none in the wings that house the rooms.”
Playing off the Rising Star sports theme, Carrier said the hotel will offer two kinds of room configurations designed for teams. Bunkbeds will fill a central room that adjoins ‘chaperone’ rooms on either side and will accommodate as many as 12 athletes. “That way, team members can all sleep in the same room but parents, chaperones, or coaches will be next door.
“Other rooms have a dedicated space for teams to gather, strategize, and unwind, complete with bean bag chairs, 50-inch TVs, whiteboard walls and video game consoles. Rooms can be configured to place campers or teammates in one wing of the same floor to allow athletes a great opportunity to interact with one another while allowing easy supervision.”
Rooms designed for golfers will open onto the central backyard where everyone can gather for drinks, relaxation, and camaraderie. We have seven remarkable courses in Mesquite. We want golfers to have as great an experience off the course as they do on the course,” Carrier quipped. “We want to provide different things for different people at different times.”
Perhaps the most spectacular feature of the new resort will be what Carrier calls a ‘backyard in spades.’ Behind the hotel and central to both room wings will be a pool area, barbeque pits, and a patio with shading and seating. But it will have much more than a conventional hotel offers.
“We’ll have tree swings, fire pits, ping pong, basketball and sand volleyball courts, pickle ball courts, horseshoe pits, and even outdoor chess and checkers. We’ll also have a half-size soccer field for training purposes and camps,” Carrier said.
Also planned for the backyard is a 220 foot by 120 foot temporary inflatable field house. If it proves to be popular, a permanent field house will take its place later. “You don’t want to get this wrong,” Carrier remarked explaining the go-slow strategy with the temporary structure.
Describing the resort’s concept even further, Greg Lee, developer of the Rising Star Ranch and CEO of the Eureka Casino Resort said in a written statement, “The resort will meet the needs of the competitive athlete while not ignoring the needs of everyone else traveling with them. A tournament weekend can, and should, be much more than long days on the fields and sidelines. Rising Star will look to create ways for Mom or Dad to sneak in a round of golf and the whole family to get some time by the pool.”
Also giving the old hotel a fresh new look will be an outside façade renovation complete with a new entrance facing I-15. “That will be the last part of the makeover,” Carrier said. “We’ll still have an entrance on Sandhill Blvd but we’re referring to that as the ‘front porch.’ Teams will gather there to load onto buses, vans, and cars.”
As part of the design phase, Carrier explained that “we created a Board of Advisors from different sports who are coaches, trainers, and camp directors to tell us what they want in a sports resort. We are the platform not the provider. We want to make their travel and stay experience seamless by providing what they want and need in all facets.”
“We are committed to creating the best sporting experience for athletes, coaches, parents and families,” Lee said. “In the end, time is the greatest commodity. For a certain number of us, travel teams and tournaments consume a lot of time. What the Ranch is about is creating a place that allows you to make the most of the time you have invested, by allowing you to enjoy the time you have together. ”
“We are going to work hard to make this a special place. Not just a place to train and launch some great star athletes and leaders, but to make some great memories as well,” Carrier said.