Echoing another era, the Riviera’s lobby hummed with crowds of guests beneath ostentatious chandeliers and Rat-Pack-era decor Wednesday morning.
Only now, the luggage carts were loaded with baking sheets, pool-side chairs and vacuum cleaners selected by former hotel employees crowding around the registration desk, now standing in as checkout line for the casino’s liquidation sale.
The general public will be allowed into the giant Vegas-themed rummage sale at 9 a.m. today.
“We like to give employees the first shot,” said Greg Hall, operations manager of National Content Liquidators, the Ohio-based company that also handled the final cash-out for the Dunes and the Sahara.
The once-grand Strip hotel and casino closed May 4.
Cataloging and pricing an estimated $3 million used casino inventory takes time, Hall explained.
Wednesday morning, about 20 former employees stood analyzing the sample display arranged just inside the lobby doors. Beds, artwork, 50-cent coat hangers, lamps and curtains that once decorated the 2,075 guest rooms were sprawled out, each with a price tag.
“Whatever’s left is left,” Hall insisted.
There won’t be much after the sale, he said. Anything not carted away will simply be demolished with the hotel, which will make way for an expansion of the nearby convention center.
Hundreds flooded the exhibition rooms, casino floor and restaurant kitchens, shopping for anything that wasn’t bolted down — and some things that were.
The “Sinatra” penthouse suite where “Ol’ Blue Eyes” himself slept after performing at the Riv’s Versailles Theatre, was picked clean within hours, with those looking to cart home a piece of Vegas history slapping “sold” signs on gaudy armoires and patio furniture.
Pushing a bulky lectern through the cashier line, Laura Sadowski said she lucked out on the piece that will match her gaming tables at home.
Sadowski, brought along by a former card dealer and friend, said she never worked at the casino. Having no sentimental ties to her purchase, she said, “It’s good storage.”
Her friend, pointing at the lectern’s “Riviera” emblem, laughed, “Forget the Riviera, you gotta get something else on there.”
They were not the only group who thought practicality trumped collectability.
Appraiser and announcer John Feldhaus, who styles himself “the price man,” said most people come looking for everyday items such as furniture and kitchenware.
The sale will go Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., until everything is gone, according to a billboard.
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority is expected to take possession of the building by June 8.
An authority spokesman said no timetable has been established for the demolition. Officials initially speculated that it could come in August or September, but the authority now says it could be the end of the year or early next year before the Riviera comes down.
Contact Kimberly De La Cruz at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Find her on Twitter: @KimberlyinLV.