Plaza closure

For the second time in less than a year, a downtown Las Vegas property announced Monday it will shut its hotel operations and send a major portion of its work force to the unemployment line. Owners of the downtown Plaza said Monday it was closing its 1,037-room hotel tower and will lay off more than 400 employees within the next two months.

In a statement, Tamares Real Estate said it would renovate the guest rooms and casino inside the 39-year-old property, located on 16.5 acres at the intersection of Main and Fremont streets. Tamares said it would take at least a year to make the upgrades and changes.

Here’s hoping things go as planned. Though the re-opening of other downtown properties, after being closed “for renovations,” has been slow, as operators doubtless wait for a sign whether the Obama-Reid recession will last as long as that triggered by the similar Keynesian “stimulus” interventions of Mr. Hoover and Mr. Roosevelt.

The Plaza hotel’s closing follows the closing last December of 365 rooms at Binion’s Gambling Hall & Hotel, which laid off about 100 of the property’s 800 employees. In February 2006, owners of the Lady Luck closed its 743-room hotel-casino for a planned renovation, laying off almost 700 workers. The property has been shuttered ever since.

Downtown Las Vegas has long struggled in competition with the larger rooms and swankier atmosphere of the Strip, four miles to the south.

But there’s little doubt the Obama-Reid recession was crucial. Downtown gaming revenues have collapsed over the past two years as the stagnating national economy has ravished discretionary tourist spending.

Mayor Oscar Goodman, always looking at the bright side, said Monday, “Maybe with a redone Plaza, we’ll be able to work with them to get access from the Fremont Street Experience to the 61 acres,” the property once controlled by the railroad across the Union Pacific tracks, where the $100 million Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health opened this year and the $470 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts is currently under construction.

“We have to get the critical mass flowing in that direction,” the mayor said.

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