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Gaming Guru

Chris Kudialis
 

Clarion prepares to crumble into history

10 February 2015

LAS VEGAS -- Formerly known as the Royal Americana, Paddlewheel, Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel and Greek Isles, the Clarion Hotel & Casino will be bid farewell with a spectacular implosion planned for early Tuesday morning.

Located at 205 Convention Center Drive, just off the Strip, the Clarion underwent several bankruptcies and closures during its 44-year-history, and it changed ownership at least five times through 2009.

Closed since Sept. 1, the hotel features more than 200 rooms and was the nation’s only Clarion to offer gaming. It’s the 13th valley hotel to be imploded and the first since New Frontier came crashing down in 2007.

Lorenzo Doumani, a Las Vegas developer, purchased the property in October for $22.5 million in cash. He won’t disclose his plans for replacing the Clarion but says both Tuesday’s implosion and his next project will be “outstanding.”

“It’s going to be something very unique that has a hotel component,” Doumani said. “And it might be taller than the Wynn.”

Doumani says his goal is to make Convention Center Drive the new prime area of the Strip. He says a proposed $2.5 billion expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center will help.

“Five years from now, this will be the largest spot in Vegas,” he said. “It’s going to be phenomenal, and I think it’ll really come into fashion.”

For Tuesday, Doumani picked two companies, Diversified Demolition and Controlled Demolition, to take down the building on his 6-acre lot. The Clarion will be imploded between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., according to Clark County spokesman Dan Kulin.

Ken Mercurio, president of Diversified Demolition, also was involved in the Bourbon Street and Boardwalk implosions in 2006. Mercurio said spectators can expect two series of separate blasts before the Clarion implodes Tuesday.

“People always think the first blast doesn’t work, because the hotel doesn’t fall right away,” Mercurio explained. “But then we set off the second blasts, and gravity takes over from there.”

For Tuesday’s implosion to be postponed, sustained winds would need to reach at least 10 mph during the morning, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Don Berc in Las Vegas.

Though gusts could reach between 10 and 15 mph Monday night, sustained wind speeds are expected to drop to between 5 and 10 mph by morning, Berc said. Temperatures are predicted to be in the mid-to-high 50s. No rain is expected.

“It’s going to be pretty darn nice for this time of the year at that time of the night,” Berc said.

Starting at 11:30 p.m., Metro officers will close all roads located around the implosion site. Convention Center Drive, Kishner Drive, Debbie Reynolds Drive and Channel 8 Drive will reopen at 3:30 a.m., according to police.

Designated pedestrian “exclusion” locations will be made available in three locations: at the Las Vegas Convention Visitor Authority parking lot, about 1,000 feet east of the neighboring Las Vegas Marriott and about a block west of Sadie Lane, according to Mercurio. Pedestrian viewing zones will be clearly defined, and both Metro and demolition staff will be staffing viewing zone boundaries.

For easy entry and exit to viewing the implosion, spectators are encouraged to arrive early. While the implosion will last for only 10 seconds, traffic could be delayed for up to an hour, according to Mercurio.

“It’s going to be dusty, make no mistake about it.”