weather icon Cloudy

What does Bally’s have to do before a possible Tropicana implosion?

Two and a half months ago, the Tropicana was buzzing with last-minute, nostalgic visitors who wanted to create a memory at the closing hotel-casino. Today, the buzzing instead comes from the wrecking machines, earth movers and construction workers who have torn down the porte cochere and cleared out at least 13 hotel floors — including the walls — leaving just the bones of the building’s structure as they prepare for a possible implosion of the historic property.

Workers continue to demolish the remaining hotel tower and executives at Bally’s Corp., the Rhode Island-based operators of the Tropicana, say they hope to implode the building in October as they move forward with partners to eventually develop the site into a Major League Baseball stadium.

Demolition teams have made significant progress in clearing the site since the April 2 closure. A Bally’s spokesman said the liquidation and asset disposition is complete after roughly two months of sales through Dayton, Ohio-based International Content Liquidation Inc., which held private sales to hospitality groups and three weekends of sales to the general public. Workers continue to clear out the scraps and tear off paneling on the main hotel tower.

What else is left to prepare the site for an implosion? Several permits and other last steps, county officials say.

A history of implosions

Plans call for the 67-year-old hotel-casino to completely come down by the end of the year, making way for future development on site. The Oakland Athletics intend to build a $1.5 billion, 33,000-seat ballpark on part of the 36-acre site with views of the Las Vegas Strip. Bally’s and landowner Gaming & Leisure Properties Inc., a real estate investment trust, have said the Athletics are getting nine acres for the stadium, and the rest eventually would be developed as a casino resort.

Las Vegas has a long history with hotel implosions. When the New Frontier was imploded in 2007, the destruction turned into a fun event with a fireworks show and a chanted countdown of the resort’s destruction.

Before that, Steve Wynn used Treasure Island’s grand opening as a chance to implode the nearby Dunes’ north tower with Hollywood flair: Wynn counted down the implosion while aboard a pirate ship in Treasure Island’s lagoon along Las Vegas Boulevard that simulated cannon blasts aimed at the old resort.

At the time, Nevada Highway Patrol stopped traffic on Interstate 15 during implosion and the Strip had closed three hours ahead of the event, archives show.

Working through permitting

It’s unclear if Bally’s has similar theatrics planned for the possible implosion. The company has stayed tight-lipped about plans — the spokesman said Tuesday they are still targeting an October implosion.

Clark County approved a demolition permit for the site on April 20. The company has until Oct. 20 to carry out the estimated $15 million demolition, according to the permit. Wreckage work done so far has been carried out by Orange County, California-based GGG Demolition Inc.

County officials said that permit is limited to specific work. Contractors will have to obtain an additional blasting permit from the Clark County Fire Department for the use of explosives, submit a traffic control plan if public road closures are required and remove any asbestos found on the property under the monitoring of the county’s asbestos inspectors before obtaining an implosion-specific permit.

“This permit does not include implosion of the towers,” public information officer Stacey Welling said in an email. “A separate implosion demolition permit is required from our Building Department for an implosion. The property owner is required to have plans and permits in place from other County departments before an implosion demolition permit would be issued.”

Property owners are expected to provide the county with a project timeline that starts 24 hours before the implosion and ends at the post-implosion reopening of roads and securing the property, according to a county guide. They also have to provide plans for fencing, crowd control, weather delays, safety regulations and any public special events like a parade or movie or media access.

Contact McKenna Ross at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on X.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.