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From The Mailbag: Are There Any Implosions Planned?

By Chuckmonster on Friday, 12th August 2011 1:36am
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 14


Periodically, we get emails from folks asking us questions that we think y'all might be interested in helping us answer, or ones that might stir up a little discussion.

Today's question comes from VT reader Bruce, who asks:

Are any future implosions scheduled? I was at the Stardust implosion, and would like to witness another one. Thanks.

Those sure were great times weren't they? Those heady days of the mid-aughts when nearly every casino built before 1998 was potentially a target of the wrecking ball built of cheap credit and infinite dreams. Implosion rumors were so fast and furious, we even had a category devoted to it in our annual Trippies awards. In 2005, Excalibur won the "please blow this up award" with Ballys winning the preservation award. The very next year, readers changed their minds... wishing a crumbling end and hoping the Flamingo would be saved.

In relatively quick succession, down they came... The Desert Inn, El Rancho (future home of Countryland U.S.A.) Boardwalk, Stardust and New Frontier... all promising a bumper crop of the greatest Las Vegas resorts ever.

And come they did... Wynn Las Vegas and "sexy little sister" property Encore debuted on the Desert Inn site in 2005 and 2008, respectively. The following year, limping and bruised by financial woes, ARIA and its surrounding CityCenter - built on the gigantic tract partially occupied by Boardwalk, a slew of junky shops and a parking lot slash helipad - opened in a disastrous economic environment. A year later, the Cosmopolitan, a bank owned, hipster hangout cobbled together from the ashes of a condo/resort project that fell into loan default opened on a small sliver of property that used to be the Jockey Club's parking lot.

The faltering economy and credit market crash caused Stardust replacement Echelon to halt construction 20 floors from street level. Another casualty was Fontainebleau - built upon El Rancho - whose ownership squad was tossed into the credit crunch dumpster of default, abruptly ceasing construction as it neared its homestretch of fitting and finishing. Finally, the Las Vegas Plaza project - a recreation of New York City's famed Plaza Hotel, to be built where the New Frontier used to be, never progressed beyond the drawing board, leaving a 38 acre blight that disconnects the north Strip from reality.

A final quiet entry into the dismal economic outlook sweepstakes, and most likely candidate for implosion is the recently closed Sahara Hotel & Casino. While owners SBE still say that Sahara will be retrofitted and turned into an SLS Hotel and Casino, smart money says that Sahara will be imploded and sold for scrap.

Building a new resort costs in insane amount of money, cash that isn't justified in the current economic climate, a sad fact that doubles as saving grace for perennial implosion targets Ballys, Flamingo, Imperial Palace and Riviera. If I had to choose what hotel will be imploded in Las Vegas next, I'd have to say Sahara, followed by Fontainebleau.

To answer your question, no, there are no implosions planned. That we know of.

Tagged: implosions   fontainebleau   aria   cosmopolitan   desert inn   el rancho   boardwalk   stardust   new frontier   sahara   wynn   encore   


Comments & Discussion:

keep on a look out for a late 2011 early 2011 demolition at the Imperial Palace. possibly the older capri tower. this will make room for further construction of the Linq project.

And didn't the Trop have a mini implosion happen quietly (relatively) in the middle of the night to one of it's wings that no one knew about and got very little press on?

If you're lucky you might be able to catch wind of one of these fly by night hit and run jobs haha.

Thinking the economy isn't going to improve that much, and Caesars will want to keep that IP cashflow coming in...maybe MGM can turn that Albatross of CityCenter around, and The Harmon gets blowed up real soon!!! (once the lawsuits and appeals conclude)

1) Fontainebleau by mid-2012.
2) Sahara by end of 2012.
3) Riviera by end of 2013.
4) The Landmark by end of 2011---oh, wait...

Blowing up Fontainebleau would be so freakin ridiculous. Not saying it won't happen, but what a freakin waste of money to just build it, stop right before it tops out then say "Alright we're blowing this up." Insanity. But it's Vegas.

I honestly hope they don't demolish anything else until they build something on that Frontier/Stardust lot to keep the "fullness" of the Strip there. If they keep blowing ish up there's not going to be a Strip AT ALL past the Wynn.

I just hope the next thing imploded has all the Kardashians inside.

Implosions won't start happening again until the value of the land underneath the buildings starts going up. Imploding a building and clearing the site for construction are huge expenses, and right now it doesn't pencil out for a company to spend that much and end up with an empty lot that isn't even worth what they spent on the implosion.

how about Cosmo, so I have an free view to the foutains from Aria.....

@Chris77, don't forget there are security and other ancillary costs involved in keeping an abandoned building around. That's what makes me think SLS may implode the Sahara sometime in 2012. If they really plan to sit on the land for 5-10 years, it might pencil out to blow it up rather than try and keep it secured against squatters, urban spelunkers, etc.

I agree with RockChick, it would be ridiculous to blow up FB. I think it would be a good idea to make the property into a mid-rollers type place. Open it up in phases, casino/restaurants/bars and lounges first, hotel next, then the mall area with stores we all can actually afford, not cheap stores though. That place can sure be an awesome place if they wanted it to be.

Regarding the Fontainebleau, word on the street is that Crazy Carl has stripped the place bare, much like he did to TWA all those years ago. For what it would supposedly cost to finish the building, one could tear it down and build a new tower to their own specs. IIRC, there were reports that the rooms were a bit small by Vegas standards. I'm not talking Golden Gate second floor smoking queen small, but small compared to properties it was supposed to be on par with.

I still see someone finishing the FB with a different name on it and some different ideas from what the original owners planed. The structure is solid, and once the bankruptcy mess is winnowed out I could see it being a steal for an enterprising operator like Cordish or Penn.

The Sahara would be the most likely candidate but I am praying for Circus Circus. I dont see much point in blowing up FB since the frame is done. If someone was to wander in and buy an existing property FB makes sense since all they would have to do is finish it.

shouldn't the Harmon be coming down pretty soon? i know the 30 day deadline to annonce a solution has passed.

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