Gansevoort hotel developer finds ‘dream come true’ on Strip

Michael Achenbaum had several opportunities to bring his Gansevoort brand to Las Vegas over the past few years.

This week, while viewing the $185 million transformation of the Barbary Coast/Bill’s Gamblin’s Hall into the Gansevoort Las Vegas, the New York City-based hotel developer said he was seeking “an interesting and unique” opportunity to plant his boutique lifestyle hotel on the Strip.

He never imagined, however, that a corner on one of Las Vegas’ most famous intersections would come his way.

“I know this sounds cheesy, but the reality is that this is a dream come true for my brand,” said Achenbaum, 41, president of Gansevoort Hotel Group.

When Achenbaum found out Caesars Entertainment Corp. and nightclub developer Victor Drai we looking at renovating middle-market Bill’s into an upscale luxury hotel, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I don’t think I could have been any more aggressive in my pursuit,” Achenbaum said. “To work with Victor, who is an icon in this industry, was an amazing opportunity.”

The Gansevoort Las Vegas is undergoing a renovation in which the only recognizable feature of the old building will be the outline of the tower when the process is completed next year. And even that space will have a different look.

The property will have 188 “Parisian apartment-style rooms,” including 19 suites, and the building is being expanded to include a new lobby area, a redesigned lobby bar, retail outlets and a 40,000-square-foot casino.

Television food personality Giada De Laurentiis is opening a 300-seat restaurant on the second floor of the Gansevoort that once housed valet parking. The walls have been knocked out and will be replaced by floor-to-ceiling glass, giving guests a view of the Strip, including Caesars Palace, the Bellagio fountains and the Paris Las Vegas Eiffel Tower.

Three levels will be added to building, which will allow Drai to build a 65,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor nightclub and rooftop pool area overlooking the Strip. Drai’s After Hours, which has been located in the building’s basement since it was known as the Barbary Coast, will return to its original downstairs facility.

Achenbaum credited Drai with the idea of re-creating the old hotel-casino, first opened in 1979 by Michael Gaughan, as a luxury resort.

“To be fair, Victor had been pitching this idea for years,” Achenbaum said. “We look at this opportunity as offering a brand that understands a sense of aesthetics and guest services.”

The Gansevoort Group is providing the design team and Caesars with branding, marketing and guest services concepts, ideas and programs.

“The whole design and whole guest interaction is controlled by our standards and involvement,” Achenbaum said.

His company, which he founded in 2004, developed two New York City properties; the Gansevoort Meatpacking NYC in the city’s Meatpacking District, and the Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC on 29th Street and Park Avenue South. The company also operates the Gansevoort Turks + Caicos on the Caribbean resort island.

Operating a 188-room hotel is Achenbaum’s specialty. He is personally choosing the various “touches and design elements,” such as fabrics and hotel room amenities, including unique items for in-room minibars.

“That’s where I get my enjoyment. That’s the fun part,” Achenbaum said.

He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan as well as master’s degrees in business and law from New York University. Achenbaum held positions with Bear Sterns and Nomura Securities in New York’s financial district. In 1999, he joined his father William in real estate development and the pair have co-developed more than $1 billion in property.

Achenbaum said he explored Las Vegas because he wants to put Gansevoort in cities “where my clients visit.”

He had a deal with the Hard Rock to buy six acres and create a hotel that would be attached to the off-Strip property. But he got nervous when the market began to turn and pulled out of the deal. He was also approached by Boyd Gaming Corp. to be part of the $4.8 billion Echelon development, which was to include multiple luxury hotel brands.

In both cases, Achenbaum was told to build a hotel with more rooms than he cared to operate. He believes a true lifestyle brand is a smaller, more intimate operation.

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

A Walk Through Circus Circus
It only takes a short walk through Circus Circus to realize it attracts a demographic like no other casino on the Strip: families with young children. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Morphy Auctions, a vintage slot machines seller, wants gaming license
Vice president Don Grimmer talks about Morphy Auctions at the company's warehouse located at 4520 Arville Street in Las Vegas on Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. (Rick Velotta/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nevada's venture capital money doesn't stay in state
Zach Miles, associate vice president for economic development for UNLV, said there’s venture money in Southern Nevada, “but trying to find the right groups to tap into for that money is different.” According to a 2017 report from the Kauffman Foundation, Las Vegas ranked number 34 out of 40 metropolitan areas for growth entrepreneurship, a metric of how much startups grow. With a lack of growing startups in Las Vegas, investment money is being sent outside of state borders. The southwest region of the U.S. received $386 million in funding in the second quarter, with about $25.2 million in Nevada. The San Francisco area alone received about $5.6 billion. (source: CB Insights)
Neon wraps can light up the night for advertising
Vinyl wrap company 5150 Wraps talks about neon wraps, a new technology that the company believes can boost advertising at night. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Nevada on the forefront of drone safety
Dr. Chris Walach, senior director of Nevada Institute for Autonomous Systems, talks to a reporter at NIAS's new Nevada Drone Center for Excellence of Public Safety, located inside the Switch Innevation Center in Las Vegas. K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal @KMCannonPhoto
Motel 8 on south Strip will become site of hotel-casino
Israeli hoteliers Asher Gabay and Benny Zerah bought Motel 8 on the south Strip for $7.4 million, records show. They plan to bulldoze the property and build a hotel-casino. Motel 8 was built in the 1960s and used to be one of several roadside inns on what's now the south Strip. But it looks out of place today, dwarfed by the towering Mandalay Bay right across the street.
Project billed as one of the world's largest marijuana dispensaries plans to open Nov. 1
Planet 13 co-CEO Larry Scheffler talks about what to expect from the new marijuana dispensary, Thursday, July 19, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Oasis Biotech opens in Las Vegas
Brock Leach, chief operating officer of Oasis Biotech, discusses the new plant factory at its grand opening on July 18. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Tech Park innovation building breaks ground
Construction on the first innovation building at the UNLV Tech Park is underway. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caesars Forum Meeting Center
Caesars broke ground Monday on its $375 million Caesars Forum Meeting Center (convention center) just east of the High Roller observation wheel. (Caesars Entertainment)
Technology reshapes the pawn shop industry
Devin Battersby attaches a black-colored device to the back of her iPhone and snaps several of the inside and outside of a Louis Vuitton wallet. The device, installed with artificial intelligence capabilities, analyzes the images using a patented microscopic technology. Within a few minutes, Battersby receives an answer on her app. The designer item is authentic.
Recreational marijuana has been legal in Nevada for one year
Exhale Nevada CEO Pete Findley talks about the one year anniversary of the legalization of recreational marijuana in Nevada. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Young adults aren't saving for retirement
Financial advisors talk about saving trends among young adults. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
President Trump’s tariffs could raise costs for real estate developers, analysts say
President Donald Trump made his fortune in real estate, but by slapping tariffs on imports from close allies, developers in Las Vegas and other cities could get hit hard.
Las Vegas business and tariffs
Barry Yost, co-owner of Precision Tube Laser, LLC, places a metal pipe into the TruLaser Tube 5000 laser cutting machine on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, in Las Vegas. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Nevada Film Office Connects Businesses To Producers
The director of the Nevada Film Office discusses its revamped locations database and how it will affect local businesses. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Opendoor isn't the typical house flipping company
Unlike most house flippers, the company aims to make money from transaction costs rather than from selling homes for more than their purchase price.
The Venetian gondoliers sing Italian songs
Gondolier Marciano sings a the classic Italian song "Volare" as he leads guests through the canals of The Venetian in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Building In Logandale
Texas homebuilder D.R. Horton bought 43 lots in rural Logandale. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Indoor farming in Southern Nevada
Experts discuss Nevada's indoor farming industry. (Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former Fontainebleau could have become a Waldorf Astoria
Months after developer Steve Witkoff bought the Fontainebleau last summer, he unveiled plans to turn the mothballed hotel into a Marriott-managed resort called The Drew. But if Richard “Boz” Bosworth’s plans didn’t fall through, the north Las Vegas Strip tower could have become a Waldorf Astoria with several floors of timeshare units. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
LVCVA CEO Rossi Ralenkotter announces plans to retire
Rossi Ralenkotter, CEO of the LVCVA, on Tuesday confirmed a Las Vegas Review-Journal report that he is preparing to retire. Richard N. Velotta/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cousins Maine Lobster to open inside 2 Las Vegas Smith’s stores
Cousins Maine Lobster food truck company will open inside Las Vegas’ two newest Smith’s at Skye Canyon Park Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and at Warm Springs Road and Durango Drive. Cousins currently sells outside some Las Vegas Smith’s stores and at Fremont Street and Las Vegas Boulevard. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas home prices to continue to rise, expert says
Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, gives homebuyers a pulse on the Las Vegas housing market. (Eli Segall/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
NV Energy announces clean energy investment
The company is planning to add six solar projects in Nevada, along with the state's first major battery energy storage capacity. Bailey Schulz/Las Vegas Review-Journal
3 Mario Batali restaurants on Las Vegas Strip to close
Days after new sexual misconduct allegations were made against celebrity chef Mario Batali, his company announced Friday that it will close its three Las Vegas restaurants July 27. Employees of Carnevino Italian Steakhouse, B&B Ristorante and Otto Enoteca e Pizzeria, all located in The Venetian and Palazzo resorts, were informed of the decision Friday morning. Bastianich is scheduled to visit the restaurants Friday to speak to employees about the next two months of operation as well as how the company plans to help them transition to new positions.
Nevada has its first cybersecurity apprenticeship program
The Learning Center education company in Las Vegas has launched the first apprenticeship program for cybersecurity in Nevada. It was approved by the State Apprenticeship Council on May 15. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas union members voting to authorize the right to strike
Thousands of Las Vegas union members voting Tuesday morning to authorize the right to strike. A “yes” vote would give the union negotiating committee the power to call a strike anytime after June 1 at the resorts that fail to reach an agreement. (Todd Prince/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like