By Mark Waite
Golden Gaming Inc., owners of the Pahrump Nugget Hotel & Casino, took over Terrible’s Town and Terrible’s Lakeside casinos from Affinity Gaming, while Valley Electric Association also made an ambitious expansion in 2012, joining the California Independent System of Operators CAISO and landing contracts for the Nevada National Security Site NNSS and Creech Air Force Base.
But 2012 was also marked by the closure of two major businesses. Floyd’s Ace Hardware, a business in existence in Pahrump since 1963 closed in March, and Tommasino’s Fine Italian Dining and All That Jazz the next month, a restaurant with an interior modeled after an Italian piazza opened by car dealer Tom Saitta in the midst of the recession in July 2009.
The Pahrump Dairy closed after being a local landmark for 24 years. The dairy was designed to milk up to 2,200 cows, they were gradually hauled off to slaughterhouses, though the dairy is still raising hay. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection didn’t blame regulations for the closure, but former manager Assemblyman Ed Goedhart said regulations like flow monitoring and containing all runoff, made it economically unfeasible.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board gave its approval to the Golden Gaming takeover in early February, the Nevada Gaming Commission gave its consent two weeks later. The merger means 560 employees will work for Golden Gaming Inc. A contest to rename Terrible’s Town was won by Gloria King, who came up with Gold Town, to win a $10,000 prize in June.
The CAISO Board of Governors, who control 80 percent of the California power grid, gave their consent to admit Valley Electric Association as a participating member in September, the first out-of-state member. The agreement was heralded as a way for renewable energy companies in southern Nevada to get their power to market in California. NV Energy had already fulfilled its renewable energy portfolio.
The next month, VEA won a five-year, $61.6 million contract to manage the Nevada National Security Site electrical system, then in November, it was announced VEA received a $23.6 million contract to furnish power for Creech AFB.
Officials broke ground in May for Pahrump Assisted Living and Memory Care Facility, a $7.2 million facility being built on 3.4 acres at 1550 S. Java Ave. It’s scheduled to be completed in March 2013. The three-story project was the largest construction site in 2012.
That same month, Magnificat Ventures broke ground on the St. Therese Mission, an environmentally-friendly memorial park on Tecopa Road that will contain columbariums and family plots for cremations, a church and columns marking the stations of the cross as part of the first phase, scheduled to open this month. A restaurant and visitor’s center are planned as part of phase two.
SolarReserve completed a 540-foot solar tower in February at the Crescent Dunes project, a 110-megawatt facility billed as the world’s first commercial scale, solar power facility with fully integrated energy storage. SolarReserve also erected a building later in the year to manufacture heliostats for the project. By the end of the year over 200 construction workers were employed on the project, located on Pole Line Road 13 miles northwest of Tonopah. Employment is expected to reach a peak of 600 construction workers in 2013 when the heliostats are installed.
A public hearing was held in Pahrump in June on an application by BrightSource Energy to build two, 250-megawatt solar plants on 3,100 acres of the Hidden Hills Ranch, just across the California state line on Tecopa Road. A final staff assessment issued by the California Energy Commission in December said the commission will have to come up with overriding findings the benefits of the project will outweigh unavoidable, significant adverse, environmental impacts.
DaVita Kidney Dialysis, which opened a 7,500-square-foot office next to Desert View Hospital in October 2010, announced it signed an agreement valued at $4.42 billion in cash and stock, to purchase Healthcare Partners Inc., which recently expanded into numerous Pahrump clinics. The merger, expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter of 2012, would be called DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc. Healthcare Partners has 667,000 patients and 700 physicians in southern Nevada, southern California and central Florida. DaVita operates 13 kidney dialysis centers in southern Nevada.
Philip Moreau purchased the recreational vehicle park at the Pahrump Valley Winery in July and renamed it Wine Ridge RV Resort. The RV park is now open to the public, not just members. Moreau owns three resorts in the Southwest. Moreau plans numerous upgrades to the RV park, including a playground, picnic area and mini-golf.
Spring Mountain Motorsports Club was given an additional 120 acres by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in a noncompetitive bid sale in May. The minimum price was $645,000. The motor sports club will now encompass 313 acres. The addition will allow a 1.6-mile track extension and a half-mile extension on a 2.2-mile configuration. It is expected to allow four simultaneous track configurations.
Otherwise it was a quiet year for development in the Pahrump Valley. A few new businesses opened into existing buildings, like I Love Yogurt in the Pahrump Valley Junction Shopping Center, or the Dragon Cloud Hookah Lounge, at 3370 S. Highway 160.
Dave Sullivan, former owner of Sullivan’s Pub, announced he was taking over the Town Hall Bar, which has been closed since December 2011. Darryl Keppner won approval of the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission to reopen the Sunset Tavern on East Street as The Bounty Hunter.
In January, Xpress Fitness reopened as Custom Health and Fitness at 3640 S. Highway 160. Building owner Chris Telles opened the gym three months after Xpress Fitness owners Simon Harkin and Steve Benson closed it, leaving members in the dark.
Tattoo artists are doing a brisk business. Two new shops opened in 2012, Cameron Batongbacal got approval from the RPC to open Aloha Ink next to Paddy’s Pub at 1700 S. Pahrump Valley Blvd. in April. Brian Jones opened Living Art Tattoos at 1190 E. Highway 372 in November.