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$1 Billion Investment In Reno Could Include New Arena For UNR Basketball

Written By Marc Meltzer | Updated:
Grand Sierra Resort's Rendering For New Reno Arena with $1 billion investment Reno, Nevada

Grand Sierra Resort (GSR) is making a massive $1 billion investment into its local Reno, NV community over the next 10 years. Plans call for:

  • An arena
  • Golf Facility
  • New hotel tower
  • and 300 affordable residences

The 300,000-square-foot arena is the centerpiece of this investment. The venue will hold more than 10,000 for concerts, basketball games, and special events. Like all new arenas, this venue will offer modern amenities, including suites and premium hospitality clubs.

GSR Owner Alex Meruelo and University of Nevada, Reno President Brian Sandoval announced this investment on Thursday. Both names might sound familiar.

Sandoval was the Governor of Nevada from 2011-2019. Meruelo owns Sahara Las Vegas and Arizona Coyotes of the NHL.

Meruelo’s vision is ”to transform GSR into a destination where community, sports, and entertainment come together.” In a Grand Sierra Resort news release, he continued by saying:

“This will not only redefine Grand Sierra Resort but also elevate Reno to new heights in the realm of entertainment and sports. We recognize and value the community’s support and enthusiasm as we commence this journey together.”

Sandoval added: “The University of Nevada, Reno is excited to explore the opportunity to partner with Alex Meruelo and Grand Sierra Resort as they develop a state-of-the-art arena and entertainment district that is unprecedented in Northern Nevada. The new arena will include amenities that create a fan and game experience that are second to none.”

The arena could become a vehicle that promotes Reno to the entire country.

Potential new home for the University of Nevada, Reno men’s basketball team

Meruelo and Sandoval are exploring a partnership with the University of Nevada (UNR) men’s basketball team. If an agreement is reached, the Mountain West Conference basketball team could start playing its home games when construction is finished.

Nevada’s men’s and women’s basketball teams currently play home games at Lawlor Arena. At this time, plans call for Nevada’s women’s basketball team to remain in the 12,000-capacity venue.

The current timeline for the arena is to finish construction sometime in 2026. The Nevada Wolf Pack could begin playing in the venue as soon as the 2026-27 college basketball season.

Expanding the Grand Sierra Resort casino

GSR’s 100,000-square-foot casino floor is the largest in northern Nevada. The property has nearly 2,000 hotel rooms and suites.

Part of the expansion plans is to create another 800-room hotel tower for GSR to meet customer demand. There will be at least one parking garage built to make accessing all of the venues in this expansion easy.

This is the only part of the $1 billion investment that will touch GSR directly.

Beautifying the Grand Bay

The main attraction in this long-term investment in Reno might be the arena, but there’s more for the community. There will be a new scenic walking path around the bay with a water show.

The entertainment destination will feature a golf facility that Front Office Sports says will resemble Top Golf venues.

There will also be 300 new riverfront housing units. According to GSR, these will be “affordable” units that could house the growing workforce in the area. Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve said:

“This is an incredible and historic investment by Mr. Meruelo and a true game changer for our community. It’s a massive win for our citizens, a win for the University of Nevada and a win for tourism.” will have updates on the status of this investment in northern Nevada.

Vision For Grand Sierra Resort's $1 Billion Reno Investment
Vision for Grand Sierra Resort after an estimated $1 billion investment transforms the 140-acre property. Photo Credit: Grand Sierra Resort
Photo by Grand Sierra Resort
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Marc Meltzer

Marc grew up on the mean streets of the South Bronx. He's the rare combination of Yankees and Jets fan which explains his often contrarian point of view. Marc is a freelance writer and social media consultant. Writing about steak, booze, gambling and Las Vegas is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

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