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Best of Chris Sieroty

Gaming Guru

Chris Sieroty
 

$100 million makeover of Downtown Grand, once the Lady Luck, to open Nov. 12

7 October 2013

LAS VEGAS -- The downtown Las Vegas resort property once known as the Lady Luck will reopen next month as the Downtown Grand, the property’s chief executive said Friday.

Seth Schorr, CEO of the Downtown Grand Las Vegas, said a ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for Nov. 12. Schorr also said reservations were being accepted for rooms with availability beginning Oct. 27.

“We have been working hard on this project for several years,” Schorr said. “The support of the entire downtown community has been overwhelming, and we look forward to adding another amazing element to the revitalization of Las Vegas.”

Schorr said the investment made by the property’s owner, CIM Group, in the Downtown Grand and the surrounding Downtown3rd neighborhood will be “north of $200 million” when completed.

The price of the renovation, redesign and transformation of the Lady Luck into the Downtown Grand alone was about $100 million. The Downtown Grand at Third Street and Ogden Avenue is in the process of hiring 800 employees.

The Downtown Grand features 634 rooms, about 600 slot machines and 30 table games.

“This has been an amazing year for downtown Las Vegas,” Schorr said. “The relocation of Zappos’ headquarters, multiple new businesses in the Fremont East entertainment district and the upcoming Life is Beautiful festival are all proof that we are in the middle of a downtown resurgence.”

It’s also been a year that welcomed the transformation of Fitzgerald’s into the D, along with the renovations to the Golden Gate casino and creation of an $11 million zipline, called SlotZilla, that lets riders view Fremont Street from 120 feet above street level is nearing completion.

“If you look at shopping malls … they are anchored by department stores,” said Stephen Brown, director and economics professor at the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “Most of the stores are dependent on spill over from the big stores. Downtown Grand will serve a similar function.”

Brown expected other business nearby to be more success. But, he didn’t expect the new casino to steal tourists from Strip properties.

“It creates an experience,” Brown said. “It also helps to revitalize downtown.”

For others, a renovated Downtown Grand simply means jobs.

Las Vegas City Councilman Ricki Barlow said the Downtown Grand creates an opportunity for people to go back to work, provide for their families, and use disposable income to “provide and injection into the Las Vegas economy.”

“We just walked through there (Friday),” said Jonathan Jossel, director of Las Vegas properties for Tamares Real Estate, which includes The Plaza. “It’s great. They have a totally different style than anything on the market.”

Jossel expected the Downtown Grand to attract more tourists to the area, which is welcome especially during an economic recovery. The Downtown Grand is owned by CIM Group, while Fifth Street Gaming holds the gaming license and operates the property.

“It has been 18 months since the remodel (of the Plaza), and the market has been a challenge,” Jossel said. “The gaming market is slowly improving.”

The original Lady Luck casino opened in 1964 and closed in 2006. The new casino has become the anchor tenant of the Downtown3rd district, which boasts restaurants and bars.

Schorr told the Review-Journal’s editorial board Wednesday that the next phase of development was about 2 years away and would include 80,000 square feet of retail space adjacent to the Mob Museum and 20,000 square feet of convention space.

Schorr expects the Downtown Grand to grow the market. He also said he was confident that they brought “a product to market that competes with the Golden Nugget.”