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Downtown and Derek

Last edit: wpsteel66 on Sunday, 10th July 2016 3:44 pm
Last response by levans 17th July 1:18am

A well-written article discussing the revitalization of downtown Vegas has been published in the August 2016 issue of Cigar Aficionado. However, the article primarily focuses on Derek Stevens, his history, all that he has done for downtown Vegas, and his future plans. The article also includes Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos and involved with Downtown Container Park). The article does mention these two are collaborating on a few projects, even though they have completely different businesses (gambling vs. no gambling). Both have a strong desire to turn downtown into a major destination.

I never met Derek. Throughout the year we read a post or other comments referring to Derek, especially his involvement in VIMFP. When I finally make the effort to get back downtown, I will definitely patronize Derek’s properties.

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 levans responded on Wednesday, 13th July 2016

Downtown has become a major destination. My first trip to Vegas in years took me there with a buddy and we stood at the end of Fremont and it looked dark and sketchy. That is no longer the case. Now there is a vibrant stretch of bars and dining options. The two have different business models but both care about downtown a lot. And Derek is a very nice guy.

 vespajet responded on Thursday, 14th July 2016

In some respects both Derek Stevens and Tony Hseih are this decade's version of Jackie Gaughan. We all know about the various casinos he owned Downtown for many years, but what is often forgotten about is that he owned at one point a quarter of the land Downtown. Some of that land was included in the deal in which he sold nearly all of his casinos to Barrack and Tamares, and Tamares did sell some of that land over the years (One such parcel is the old hotel that sits on Main Street next to the Golden Gate and Golden Nugget, which was sold to a subsidiary of Landry's.).

I've not been a huge supporter of the Downtown Project over the years because I just haven't like the way they've run some longtime businesses from Downtown neighborhoods. In some cases, they themselves had nothing to do with it, rather some property owner trying to get them to buy them out or attract businesses willing to pay higher rents. You cannot create a sense of community by forcing it onto people.

With the recent purchases and closing of La Bayou, Mermaid's and Girls of Glitter Gulch, there have been some commenters online lashing out against Derek Stevens and his "monopoly". They seem to forget that Boyd Gaming has owned three properties Downtown for quite a few years and that at one point Jackie Gaughan owned the Plaza, Las Vegas Club, Western, Gold Spike, Hotel Nevada, and El Cortez. Some folks obviously wish the hotels on Fremont Street were still barely a step or two above flophouse as they complain about the room rates these days.

 levans replied on Sunday, 17th July 2016

I agree. Room rates were low because no one wanted to stay at most of the places on Fremont. If you arrive in Vegas and take a shuttle to get to your hotel getting downtown costs more because it's off the beaten path. And being that far away from the Strip means the properties have to be of the same standard as a three star Strip hotel and in the minds of some visitors a four star hotel.