Terrible’s Hotel & Casino in Jean, Nevada, was one of the few permanent casino casualties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Nevada. But a Reno-based real estate developer has plans for the remote desolate town.
Tolles Development Group, a commercial real estate firm that constructs industrial, office, retail, and multifamily residential complexes, has reached a deal with the Herbst family to purchase its shuttered Terrible’s Hotel & Casino. The casino resort in Jean, some 25 miles south of the Las Vegas Strip, has sat closed since March 17, 2020.
Par Tolles, chief executive of his namesake company, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that, pending county approval, Tolles Development will acquire Terrible’s and surrounding vacant land to make way for a large industrial park.
Tolles said if the deal goes through, the project site will span some 140 acres. The Clark County Zoning Commission is slated to consider Tolles’ proposal tomorrow, February 16.
Tolles adds that the industrial park will most likely be used as a warehouse and distribution facility.
The Herbst family has a long history in Nevada’s gaming industry.
Herbst Gaming was a slot route operator formed in the 1980s to service the family’s Terrible Herbst gas stations and convenience stores. The gaming unit became the largest slot route operator in the state just a few years later. That prompted the Herbsts into making big bets by way of acquiring full-fledged casino resorts.
The Herbsts owned and operated two casinos in Pahrump. But its major roll of the dice was with the company’s purchase in 1999 of the Continental Hotel and Casino on Flamingo Road, just east of the Strip. The casino was rebranded Terrible’s the following year.
However, the Herbst gamble on casino resorts didn’t pay off, as Herbst Gaming eventually went bankrupt. The company experienced a deep dive in its profits after Nevada banned indoor smoking at bars and restaurants that offered Herbst’s slots in 2006. Business further suffered during the Great Recession and financial crisis.
Herbst Gaming was acquired by creditors, and the company was eventually rebranded Affinity Gaming. Terrible’s in Las Vegas is today the Silver Sevens Hotel & Casino.
Herbst Gaming eventually reformed as JETT Gaming. Terrible’s Hotel & Casino in Jean opened as the Gold Strike Hotel and Gambling Hall in 1987.
Circus Circus Enterprises, which would eventually become part of MGM Mirage and then MGM Resorts, acquired the resort in 1995. MGM sold the casino in 2015 to the JETT for $12 million.
Terrible Hotel to Remain
The Herbsts haven’t said specifically why they opted not to reopen Terrible’s after Nevada officials allowed resort and gaming operations to resume in early June of 2020. The desolate town sits along I-15 that travelers from Southern California drive to Las Vegas, but aside from Terrible’s and what’s billed as the largest Chevron gas station in the world — which is also owned by the Herbsts — there’s little reason for drivers to exit.
Jean’s only residents are the 240 female inmates at the Jean Conservation Camp, a prison operated by the Nevada Department of Corrections.
Tolles explained that should his industrial park development gain county approval, the shuttered Terrible’s hotel will likely remain for at least another year before it’s demolished. The property has more than 800 hotel guestrooms.
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