Inside Gaming Transformation Edition: Remodels, Demolitions, New Owners, and More
Spring is in the air and the season of rebirth is upon us. Makes you think of baby bunnies, fuzzy little chicks, and casino remodels, right? Maybe it's not the weather, but there's no denying the flurry of announcements in the past two weeks about casino makeovers, changes of ownership, and sadly, even the demolition of O'Sheas to make way for new Vegas life. Check out a few of the casino properties undergoing a transformation this spring.
O'Sheas Given Two Months to Live
O'Sheas fans better make this St. Patty's Day one to remember. Caesars Entertainment Corp. announced on March 9 that the casino will be shuttered in 60 days to make way for the new Project Linq outdoor entertainment district. The small Irish-themed casino is known for its sidewalk poker games and beer pong tables. Caesars has said that a version of O'Sheas will be incorporated into the Imperial Palace, which will be completely remodeled and renamed as part of Project Linq.
O'Sheas' 285 employees will lose their jobs when the property closes, but 180 have already been rehired at other Caesars locations. The rest will be given hiring priority as new jobs become available.
Casino City Times breaks the bad news.
Fitzgeralds to Become "The D"
What's in a name? Fitzgeralds hopes it's a new level of cool and a wave of profitability. The downtown Las Vegas casino announced this week that it will rename itself "The D Las Vegas" to go with its $15 million makeover. The rainbow and pot of gold marquee will be replaced with a slick silver and white D logo, which represents downtown, CEO Derek Stevens' nickname, and his hometown, Detroit. Stevens and his brother, Greg, bought the property in October from the estate of late developer Don Barden.
The exterior portion of the Fitzgeralds remodel also includes a light screen, an outdoor bar along Freemont Street, and an escalator to the second floor casino. "We're going to try to have a dramatic visual impact on Fremont Street that blends the old with the new," Stevens said. "I didn't want to do rebranding or renaming until we had something to show."
Inside, the new D has a new bar, named Longbar, which, at 100 feet, is the longest in the state, Stevens claims. The second floor gaming area will be remodeled over the next six weeks to have an old Vegas feel.
"I wanted to come in and renovate the property and really change the brand and add some energy, excitement and some newness to the whole property."
The Las-Vegas Review Journal covers the transformation.
Tropicana Nightclub and Dayclub Gets Third Brand in Under a Year
The Tropicana hotel and casino underwent a total renovation last year, but some pieces refuse to stick. The Mob-themed interactive museum has changed ownership, concept, and finally shut down to reorganize. And the hotel's new nightclub and "dayclub" pool is about to get its third brand in less than a year. New York-based club and restaurant management team ONE Group bought the club and will begin operating it in May after a brief shutdown.
ONE Group will name the dayclub Bagatelle Beach. The pool/club began life as Nikki Beach and then became SPF Beach Club after the Tropicana fired Nikki's operator in an ugly dispute several months ago. Tropicana has only operated the pool spot as SPF for three months.
ONE Group said it will bring to Vegas the Bagatelle Champagne party brunch that it popularized in New York's Meatpacking District. No word yet on what the nightclub, formerly Club Nikki and RPM Nightclub, will be called. "We will enter into a long-term lease to operate the spaces alongside, yet independent of, Tropicana," said Devon Mosely, ONE Group's director of marketing. ONE Group also owns the restaurant STK at The Cosmopolitan.
VegasInc.com reports on the club saga.
Vince Neil to Open New Rock and Roll Strip Club in Former Deja Vu Spot
Motley Crue star Vince Neil will open a topless nightclub in Las Vegas in the former home of the Deja Vu strip club across from the Orleans casino. Neil is confident his club, subtly named "Vince Neil's Girls, Girls, Girls," will stand out in a town with plenty of options for the topless entertainment connoisseur. "It will be the first rock and roll strip joint," he explained to Robin Leach. "First, the girls will be edgier. Tattoos won't be banned. They will look like they just stepped out of a music video. Second, the music isn't going to be boring." Neil also plans a cable TV reality show about the behind-the-scenes operations of a strip club.
"I know what guys want in sexy girls," Neil said. Read his wisdom on "sexcitement" in Robin Leach's Las Vegas Sun column.
Ameristar Buys Louisiana's Last Casino Project
Ameristar Casinos is now the proud owner of the plans and land for Mojito Pointe, a proposed Lake Charles, Louisiana, casino project. Ameristar announced this week that it bought all of the equity interests of Creative Casinos, the brains behind the Lake Charles development plan, for $32.5 million. Gaming executive Dan Lee started Creative Casinos to develop Mojito Point adjacent to the project he had worked on as a senior employee at rival Pinnacle Entertainment.
Ameristar said it will go ahead with the Mojito Pointe development but will expand the scope to include 700 hotel rooms, more parking, and a larger gaming floor. Analysts suggest that Lee was unable to secure financing for the $400 million project. He had reached a deal with MGM Resorts International in October to provide some financing in exchange for equity and a management contract, but it wasn't enough to start construction. The Ameristar deal dissolves MGM's contract. Ameristar, now the holder of Louisiana's last gaming license, expects to finish construction on the project in mid-2014.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal talks to more analysts about the sale.
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*Photo courtesy of vegasstripping.com