Las Vegas’ Downtown Grand Hotel-Casino celebrates 10 years in business

Downtown Grand Hotel-Casino is celebrating 10 years in business, having opened its doors in October 2013. The property honored its 10th anniversary at a New Year’s Eve bash.

The downtown area venue transformed the former Lady Luck casino after that property shut down amid the Great Recession. The property is of historical importance since it first started its operations in the mid-1960s when it opened as the small Lady Luck casino in 1968.

By the late 1980s, it had two hotel towers on the property with 743 rooms. The property was shut down by 2006, but in 2007, real estate investment firm CIM Group bought the property with the firm spending north of $200 million in acquiring and renovating the building.

According to Las Vegas Review-Journal, the development of the property took quite some time, as the city and landowners spent several years negotiating over additional land deals and expectations to redevelop the resort. 

The crews first demolished a building adjacent to the main resort in 2009, and construction on the main project was completed in 2013. The casino is operated by Fifth Street Gaming, whose portfolio includes the Silver Nugget and Ojos Locos Sports Cantina and Casino in North Las Vegas and the Golden Tiki restaurant in Chinatown.

The publication cited Downtown Grand General Manager Andrew Economon, who spoke about the lengthy renovation period: “There was a lot of work to be done.” The two hotel towers were renovated with new public spaces and restaurants to bring it up to modern standards.”

Downtown Grand’s October 2013 launch

The launch of Downtown Grand in 2013 came at an important time for the neighborhood once known as the Glitter Gultch. The D opened in the former Fitzgeralds building on Fremont Street, and SlotZilla, the $11 million zipline that runs through the Fremont Street Experience, was launched.

The hotel-casino operators have played up the property’s urban appeal since its inception. Owners told the Review-Journal that they took a different approach since its opening in 2013 by offering multiple points of entry and easy access to dining options.

Economon now uses malls as the analogy. “I compare it to outdoor malls that we have today versus the closed-in malls before,” he said. “If you get some of the Strip properties those are that closed-in mall feel, versus now where we have that more outdoor feel where you’re able to bounce around outside between different properties.”

Downtown Grand’s strategy is city block-based to such an extent that it purchased a street, allowing it to close it down for special events. The parent business of the resort also owns Third Street between Ogden and Stewart Avenues, as well as the buildings across the street. 

The property leases out the restaurant space to most of its tenants, including Pizza Rock and Hogs and Heifers Saloon. However, the company purchased the operations of Triple George Grill as well and made it the resort’s go-to steakhouse.

During important downtown events, the resort further underlines its urban appeal. It opened the same weekend as the Life is Beautiful festival and has served as the festival’s official headquarters for the past ten years. The most recent event featured integration at the resort pool, where Life is Beautiful artists played extra sets for visitors.

Economon said that the property has grown in its 10 years. Most recently, it added a third hotel tower in 2020. The publication cited Clark County lodging inventory records which noted that the hotel has more than 1,100 rooms and is among the largest hotels in downtown Vegas.

The hotel’s future development plans, targeted to start sometime this year, include changes to food and beverage outlets, and a complete pool remodel and room remodels.

We’ve seen market share grow for us in the downtown market and although we’re not literally on Fremont Street,” he said. “I think we share an advantage that Fremont Street is within walking distance. You’re not necessarily exposed to the noise and the fervor that goes on Fremont Street every day, but walk 150 yards and you’re there.”