2015-A Year Of Closings And New Beginnings
In Alfred Lord Tennyson’s classic book, Idylls of the Kings, it is said, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” This is a constant truth in Las Vegas. It is always changing, never growing old.
2015 proved to be a year of new beginnings. There are multiple and massive new building projects already underway in Las Vegas. And, this year marked the death of two of Las Vegas’ most historic hotels. These will be familiar to most Vegas visitors.
In May 4th of this year the Riviera Hotel and Casino closed its doors forever. The property was purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor Authority for $182,500,000. It will be imploded sometime in 2016, but no earlier than February.
The Riviera was a 60 year survivor on the strip and was one of the strip’s early hotel/casinos, the ninth to be exact. It was historic because when built in 1955 at nine stories tall it became the first high rise on the… strip. It was also the first to have a fast food establishment on its property when Burger King opened for business in the Riviera in the early 1980s.
The Riviera was a setting in several popular Vegas movies including Showgirls, The Hangover, and Vegas Vacation. A long string of famous people either entertained there or were part owners in the property. Some of the notables were Joan Crawford, Frank Sinatra, Drew Carey, Barbara Streisand, Dean Martin, Charo, some of the Marx brothers, and Liberace.
So, in the next few months this familiar and iconic fixture on the north strip will be erased and a new chapter in Vegas history will begin. The Riviera will be missed.
The other hotel/casino to close was the 86-year old Las Vegas Club was closed on August 19th. The property was sold to the owners of the “D” Hotel/Casino just a block away on Fremont Street. At some point in the future the property will be renovated and reopened under a new name. This is a part of the ongoing effort to give a facelift to the aging downtown casinos.
The oldest casino in Vegas still survives. It is the Golden Gate which opened as Hotel Nevada in 1906. In 1931 it was renamed the Sal Segev, and finally renamed the Golden Gate in 1955 when a group of businessmen from San Francisco bought the property. It still stands today. It’s unheard of in Las Vegas for any hotel to survive for over a hundred years. This one will be 115 next year.