EDITORIAL: Grand time to be had

During the valley’s long economic boom, hotel-casino grand openings were semi-annual occasions. You could plan the next big party based on the presence of construction cranes.

Then the economy tanked. The Cosmopolitan opened in December 2010. And since then, nothing. Not one opening.

That brutal trend is about to end. On Friday, CEO Seth Schorr announced the Downtown Grand will have its grand opening Nov. 12, with a soft opening for the 634-room property starting Oct. 27. The hotel will employ 800 people.

The Downtown Grand followed a new model to opening. Post-recession, it doesn’t pencil out to implode and clear away aging hotels and build from scratch. The Lady Luck, closed in 2006, was gutted and completely rebuilt by CIM Group. Including retail space and additional investment in bars and restaurants in the Downtown3rd district, the company will spend “north of $200 million,” Mr. Schorr says.

Two Strip developments, the SLS and the Gansevoort, are following the same model on the sites of the former Sahara and Barbary Coast/Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, respectively.

The opening of the Downtown Grand is another big step in the transformation of downtown Las Vegas. In the aftermath of Zappos’ takeover of the old City Hall, there’s no slowdown in job-creating investment. Just last week, Derek Stevens, who turned Fitzgeralds into the The D Las Vegas, bought the abandoned county courthouse for $10 million.

Welcome to Las Vegas, Downtown Grand. Your grand opening is grand news for the valley’s economy.

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