LAS VEGAS (AP) — The newest addition to Las Vegas’ resurgent downtown announced itself this week with a marching band, a ribbon cutting and, of course, showgirls.
The Downtown Grand hotel-casino, which actually opened its doors in late October, aims to introduce an element of luxury among the retro casinos that populate old Las Vegas.
The hotel is one of several new businesses opening in the town’s long-neglected core. Several high-concept restaurants recently remade the look of the blocks east of the loveably tacky Fremont Street Experience, a walking mall under a metal canopy that displays a nightly light show. A private park built around shipping containers is expected to open next month, and after that, a theater.
Downtown Las Vegas, about 15 minutes north of the Strip, boasts some of the town’s oldest casinos, including the Golden Nugget.
The Grand is taking over the former site of the Lady Luck casino on Third Street and Ogden Avenue, which has sat empty for years, adding to the blight that still characterizes much of downtown.
Much of the revitalization playing out around the new casino is supported by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who moved the Internet retailer’s headquarters from the suburbs to the old City Hall building one block from the Grand in September.
Hsieh committed to transforming the derelict heart of the city, pledging $350 million to redevelopment, recruiting young people from the coasts to work for his Downtown Project, and buying up about 20 square blocks of land.