Drawing on his personal experience ferrying his own children to sports events, Greg Lee related how he and others developed the idea for the new Rising Star Sports Ranch located on Sandhill Boulevard in Mesquite. Lee, Chairman of the Eureka Resort Casino and part of Urban Land of Nevada, spoke to a packed house at the Mesquite Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Wednesday, Aug. 10.
The decision to purchase the old Mesquite Star came shortly after a different company tried to buy the property for a travel center and truck stop. When that failed, in part due to public disapproval, the Lee’s stepped in and purchased the property from Mesquite Gaming LLC.
Lee described a conversation with his father, Ted, who said, “I’ll buy the property but you kids have to figure out what to do with it.” The kids were a reference to Greg Lee and Andre Carrier, CEO of Eureka Casino and Rising Star. “We were interested developing something that was planned and provided a stronger city. It was my dad’s patience and ability to make a decision” that helped seal the deal.
Lee said he and his executive team considered turning the 210-room hotel into an assisted living facility. “But that didn’t excite me for the community’s synergy and it wasn’t a business I thought I would like,” Lee said.
Even though the facility began as a casino hotel in 1999, deed restrictions on the Lee’s purchase prohibited large scale gaming. “Gambling is not the draw it used to be,” Lee said, so he wasn’t disappointed with the restriction.
“I began paying attention to friends who were calling about hotel rooms they needed while their kids were playing in a sports tournament,” he said. “Then we started noticing how many kids’ sports tournaments were in Mesquite and realized that the business was all around us already. The assets were here,” Lee said, referring to numerous ball and soccer fields built by the city.
And so the idea of creating a sports ranch hotel and resort began taking hold. “I have a healthy amount of fear and anxiety about this because we don’t know how it’s going to roll out. Something different always means fear,” Lee said. “We want to make Mesquite a place teams want to drive an extra hour to play in.”
His management team intends to perform hospitality differently enough that parents and chaperones will enjoy their weekend time during sports events as much as the kids do. Instead of making choices and giving up some personal time, parents can attend their children’s games and yet go to the spa or enjoy family time together at the Rising Star Sports Ranch. “By programming things properly we’ll be able to give people that time,” Lee said, adding that all the sports fields and golf courses are within a 10-minute drive radius in Mesquite.
Speaking to the large audience of business owners and people at the Chamber luncheon Lee said the Ranch is looking for opportunities to partner with them for various amenities that hotel guests will need and want. He also said the Rising Star will start a soft opening in October but did not mention a set date for its official grand opening.