weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Caesars giving Gansevoort $185 million transformation

When the folks at Caesars Entertainment Corp. and W.A. Richardson Builders are done turning the former Barbary Coast/Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall into the Gansevoort Las Vegas next year, the Strip’s old- timers won’t recognize the building.

You can include Michael Gaughan in that group.

The owner of the South Point built and opened the Barbary Coast in March 1979 on 1.7 acres at the northeast corner of the Strip and Flamingo Road. The space, which housed a dilapidated motel, was so tight that Gaughan had to get special permission from Clark County to put four floors of parking atop the first-floor casino and below the three-floor hotel.

“No one ever did that before,” said Gaughan, who later wiped out one floor of parking to add 50 more hotel rooms.

As part of the $185 million transformation of the Gansevoort, a portion of the second-floor parking area at the front of the building will house a 300-seat restaurant operated by television food personality Giada De Laurentiis. The dining room will offer guests spectacular views of the Strip, including the Bellagio fountains and Paris Las Vegas’ Eiffel Tower, through floor-to-ceiling windows.

Since closing Bill’s in February, construction workers have gutted the eight-story building from top to bottom. Hotel rooms have been stripped to their bare minimum and the 17,200-square-foot casino space and public area are now a clean slate.

Other than the shape of the building and some of the outside architectural enhancements, the Gansevoort Las Vegas will little resemble its past. The casino is not expected to increase in size.

Construction workers are adding three floors to create Drai’s Beach Club and Nightclub, a 65,000-square-foot rooftop pool area overlooking the Strip. Nightclub developer Victor Drai is managing the rooftop development. The basement level Drai’s After Hours will continue to be a part of the Gansevoort.

The Gansevoort Las Vegas will have 188 newly designed rooms and suites.

Caesars Regional President Eileen Moore, who oversees the Flamingo, Quad and Gansevoort properties, said the small hotel will focus on hospitality for a luxury market.

“This will be the first true luxury boutique hotel on the Strip that is not located inside another facility,” Moore said. “That sets it apart for the customer who is looking for a boutique stay in the heart of the city.”

Caesars Entertainment will operate the Gansevoort while the New York-based hotel group, which operates boutique hotels in New York City’s Meatpacking District, on Park Avenue and in the Caribbean resort islands of the Turks and Caicos, is providing design and marketing help.

Construction is in full swing with two shifts.

The redevelopment is scheduled to open in early 2014. Caesars Director of Leisure Services Melissa Fielding said the Gansevoort will retain two pedestrian entrances off the Strip: one at the corner of Flamingo Road, the other near the Flamingo hotel.

Gaughan was constricted by space limitations when he built the Barbary Coast. He eventually acquired two additional acres as surface parking for employees.

Caesars, however, owns the land east of the building toward Audrie Street, where a three-story garage is being built for self- and employee parking. A tunnel will connect the garage with the building.

The spiral ramp that led into the building’s parking area has been demolished. The Gansevoort ground floor will extend eastward to make way for the hotel lobby, a retail area, a fitness center and the porte cochere. A new parking ramp is being constructed along the north side of the building to access the original garage in the tower housing valet parking.

Gaughan had planned to add another four floors of hotel rooms and amenities to the Barbary Coast, which he built at a cost of $11.5 million. But he said the hotel-casino made so much money he never bothered to increase the footprint.

“The business out of the Barbary paid for the Gold Coast, it paid for The Orleans and it paid for the Suncoast,” said Gaughan, who sold Coast Casinos to Boyd Gaming in 2003 for $1.3 billion. “It was a great little boutique place.”

Boyd Gaming operated the Barbary Coast for several years before swapping the hotel-casino to Caesars (then-Harrah’s Entertainment) in 2007 for 24 acres next to the Stardust that became part of the Echelon land parcel. Harrah’s renamed the casino Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall that year.

Gaughan said he built the building to withstand earthquakes and other natural calamities.

The steel footings, box springs and foundation were oversized so the building could support 12 stories, including a parking garage.

Gaughan said he’s glad the footprint he created will be used for the Gansevoort.

“They never would have been able to implode that building,” Gaughan said.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz @reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Business Videos
How much do Las Vegas casino CEOs make?
Las Vegas gaming CEOs made anywhere between $1 million and $24 million last year, according to company filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ((Las Vegas Review-Journal)
30-year-old Rio needs a little TLC
Nearly 30 years after the Rio opened, the red and blue jewel that helped catapult Las Vegas to a new level with its buffet and nightclub has lost its status along with its shine.
The latest on the Drew Las Vegas - VIDEO
Eli Segall recounts his tour of the Drew Las Vegas, formerly the Fontainebleau, on the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pinball Hall of Fame to move near south Strip
Operators of the Pinball Hall of Fame have been approved to build a new, larger arcade near the south edge of the Strip on Las Vegas Boulevard near Russel Road. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
National Hardware Show underway Las Vegas
The National Hardware Show kicked off Tuesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Caesars for sale?
Caesars Entertainment Corp. has been swept up in takeover speculation since the company’s share price tumbled last year amid disappointing earnings and concerns over a recession. Amid the decline, hedge funds scooped up shares. Billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn began buying shares of Caesars as early as January. Icahn acquired nearly 18 percent by mid-March. In February Icahn called on the Caesars board to study a sale as a way to boost shareholder value.
Las Vegas home prices
Las Vegas home prices grew fastest among major markets in February for the ninth straight month. But amid affordability concerns, the growth rate has slowed down. Southern Nevada prices in February were up 9.7% from a year earlier, according to the latest S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The last time Las Vegas' price growth fell below 10% was in September 2017, S&P Dow Jones Indices reported.
Free Parking Coming To Wynn
Free parking will come to the Wynn and Encore resorts on May 1, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Founding Venetian employees talk about 20 years at the Strip resort
The Venetian, which opened May 3, 1999, is celebrating 20 years on the Las Vegas Strip. Seven original employees talk about opening the luxury resort and working there for two decades. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Circa aiming for December 2020 opening
The 1.25-million-square-foot property will have 44-stories and 777-rooms. It will also have a separate nine-story, 1,201-space parking garage.
Boxabl official explains the building concept
Boxabl business development manager Galiano Tiramani shows off a room built by his company. (Blake Apgar/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TI/Mirage Tram reopens
The tram that shuttles guests between TI and Mirage reopened this week after being closed for much of 2018.
Las Vegas Convention Center expansion taking shape
Renderings and actual footage show how the Las Vegas Convention Center is evolving.
Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz at Las Vegas convention
Former Starbucks CEO and potential presidential candidate Howard Schultz spoke at the Epicor Insights user conference at Mandalay Bay Convention Center Wednesday, April 17, 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Drew Las Vegas to open in the second quarter of 2022
The 67-story Drew Las Vegas is slated to open in the second quarter of 2022 at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NAB Day 1 (Time Lapse)
NAB kicked off at the Las Vegas Convention Center on Monday, April 8, 2019. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
National Association of Broadcasters Show shows 1mm thick 8K TV with 22.2 channel digital sound
Japan’s NHK Science & Technology Research Laboratories booth featured a 1mm thick 8K TV system used in conjunction with a 22.2 channel digital sound system at the National Association of Broadcasters Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Nevada shoppers react to Smith’s no longer accepting Visa credit cards
On March 1, Smith’s announced that it would no longer be accepting Visa credit cards at any of its 142 supermarkets, including the 45 in Nevada.
Massachusetts Gaming Commission asks how long Wynn executives knew about misconduct
Business reporter Rick Velotta gives an update on the adjudicatory hearing on the suitability of Wynn Resorts to retain its gaming license in Massachusetts.
Henderson app developer part of Startup in Residence
Henderson based developers of the app On Point Barricade are taking part in Startup in Residence, a North America program dedicated to pairing tech companies with governments. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Sam's Town employees and customers talk of their love for the iconic casino
Longtime Sam's Town employees and customers love each other and love their casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Las Vegas apartments rents
Las Vegas’ apartment market has accelerated in recent years. Developers are packing the suburbs with projects, landlords are on a buying spree, and tenants have filled buildings.
William Boyd talks about the birth of Sam's Town
On the eve of the 40th anniversary of Sam's Town, William Boyd, executive chairman of Boyd Gaming and son of hotel namesake Sam Boyd, talks about how the casino became one of the first local properties in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
High Roller observation wheel turns five
The world’s tallest observation wheel celebrates it’s fifth year on Sunday, March 31, 2019. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @Vegas88s
Escape Room Industry Growing In Las Vegas
Escapology employees discuss the growing escape room industry in the U.S. and Las Vegas. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Impact of parking fees on visiting the Las Vegas Strip
There are no data showing a relationship between Strip resort and parking fees and the number of out-of-state visitors to Las Vegas. But there are data showing a relationship between Strip parking fees and the number of local visitors to the the Strip. ‘’As a local, I find myself picking hotels I visit for dinner or entertainment, based on whether they charge for parking or not,”’ said David Perisset, the owner of Exotics Racing. ‘’It is not a matter of money, more of principle.’’ A 2018 survey by the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance found 36.9 percent of Clark County residents reported avoiding parking at Strip casinos that charge for parking. 29.1 percent reported avoiding using any services from a Strip casino that charges for parking.
MGM's sports betting deals
MGM Resorts International signed a sports betting sponsorship agreement with the NBA in July It was the first professional sports league to have official ties with a legal sports betting house. The deal came just two months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a law prohibiting sports betting in most states. In October, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the NHL. In November, MGM became the first gaming company to sign a sports betting partnership with the MLB. Financial terms of Tuesday’s deal and earlier partnerships have not been announced.
Faraday puts Las Vegas land on the market
Nearly two years after Faraday Future bailed on its North Las Vegas auto factory, the company has put its land up for sale. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
El Cortez owner Kenny Epstein on running the iconic property
Kenny Epstein, owner of the El Cortez Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, talks about Jackie Gaughan mentorship and answers rumors about bodies in the basement at the mob-era casino. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
LVCVA recommends construction of underground people mover
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority announced the recommendation for an underground people mover for the convention center. The system would have the potential to expand and connect Downtown and the resort corridor all the way to McCarran. (Michael Quine/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)