Boyd sells property initially slated for local casino at 85 percent loss

Bill Boyd, founder and executive chairman of Boyd Gaming, shares some stories of early days at the Eldorado Casino during an interview at Boyd Gaming corporate offices Thursday, June 21, 2012. The casino in downtown Henderson, opened in 1962, is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

During the boom years, casino mogul Bill Boyd shelled out $35 million for a stretch of North Las Vegas desert to build a locals gambling spot.

With the go-go days gone, though, his company has now sold the untouched property — for an 85 percent loss.

Las Vegas-based Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns several off-Strip resorts, last week sold a 39-acre parcel at the southwest corner of Centennial Parkway and Lamb Boulevard for $5.15 million to the Lewis Group of Cos., a real estate developer.

Lewis, with offices in Las Vegas, Sparks, and Northern and Southern California, develops residential and commercial properties, including apartment buildings, shopping centers and office parks.

The company has not decided what to do with its new land, Vice President Jennifer Lewis said. Her group likes the property because of its proximity to the 215 Beltway, Interstate 15 and the year-old Veterans Affairs hospital on Pecos Road.

“We thought the location was perfect,” she said.

Boyd, co-founder of his eponymous company, bought the property on behalf of Boyd Gaming in February 2006 from El Cortez owners Jackie Gaughan and Kenny Epstein, according to Clark County records.

At the time, Boyd said he would build a locals-focused casino-hotel there, with work starting in 2007. But within a few years, the real estate market crashed and Las Vegas’ economy had imploded.

So the North Las Vegas property — in the northeast corner of the valley, near Nellis Air Force Base and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway — was never developed.