Construction Begins on 18 Fremont Resort (Las Vegas Club), World Almost Misses It

There were no fireworks, no gold-plated shovels, no mayoral Proclamations. There were none of the trappings of a Las Vegas resort groundbreaking, but it was, indeed, just that.

That tingling sensation you feel isn’t numbness resulting from sitting at a slot machine too long, it’s the excitement of knowing a long-awaited Las Vegas resort is finally in the works on Fremont Street in downtown Las Vegas. We’ve got all the exclusive scoop! Because having an “exclusive” is nearly as good as “having a life,” and that’s the story we’re sticking to.

Construction, or more accurately “deconstruction,” has quietly begun on a new hotel-casino from Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of Golden Gate and The D Las Vegas.

18 Fremont resort

“What construction?” you ask. We’re trying to build some suspense here, just play along for once.

Owner Derek Stevens has said he’s attended more than 50 design meetings for the new downtown resort. While it doesn’t have a name yet, its placeholder name is “18 Fremont.”

A modest demolition project, not easily seen by pedestrians on Fremont Street, marks the beginning of a major (and expensive) construction project which will make the new resort a reality.

The demolition is happening behind two closed shops, Blowout and Forever Flawless. Demolition crews are making quick work of the structure.

18 Fremont resort construction

Boom. Work on the next Las Vegas casino resort begins, sans hoopla, which would make a good band name.

Blowout and the Forever Flawless store (covering a tiny 0.08 acres) cost the Stevens brothers  a steep $13.5 million. Millionaires be crazy, as the kids say, but there was a method behind the madness.

The shops were a critical element of a series of acquisitions allowing for 18 Fremont to encompass a full block, spanning a stretch of Fremont between Binion’s and the Plaza casino.

18 Fremont casino

This is how the lot looked midday. Keep reading to see how it looked a couple of hours later. Suspenseful, right?

Mermaids and the Glitter Gulch strip club were also purchased by the Stevens brothers, along with La Bayou, currently site of an expansion of the Golden Gate casino.

The Stevens also acquired a parcel across the street from the Las Vegas Club, between Plaza and Main Street Station, for $7.5 million.

Yes, there will be a quiz.

18 Fremont construction

A couple of hours later and virtually nothing of the shops remains. They’re going to need a really big vacuum cleaner.

Why is the demolition of the Blowout and Forever Flawless shops so important to the 18 Fremont project? We won’t ruin the surprise. (Suspense!) All we can say is there’s equipment in motion at 18 Fremont and that’s enough to get us excited about what’s to come.

Derek Stevens and others involved in the project have been tight-lipped about specifics of the new resort, but Stevens has at various times hinted it’s likely to take downtown’s pool scene to a whole new level. On an episode of our podcast, Stevens described downtown Las Vegas as “underpooled.”

The casino will be the centerpiece of the resort, of course, but multiple restaurant and bar offerings will also be in the mix. Stevens has also said it’s likely the resort will have a spa, but relatively few specifics about the resort have been shared to-date. Hey, we’re working on it.

18 Fremont construction Las Vegas Club

Look closely. The shops are now see-through.

It’s been confirmed the Las Vegas Club hotel towers (and indeed all the structures on the block) will be demolished, but not with an implosion.

After watching failed casino projects like Alon, and seemingly stalled projects like Resorts World, it’s refreshing to see a Las Vegas casino project moving forward full steam ahead. Millennial translation: Nobody’s come up with a better way of saying “full steam ahead” since the steam engine, sorry.

18 Fremont demolition

Here’s a peek inside what was the Blowout gift shop. Their inventory now consists largely of debris.

This new resort represents not only hundreds of millions of dollars of investment, but also an entirely new place for us to drink Captain Morgan and diets and play Top Dollar. Just keeping it real.

Las Vegas Club demolition

The forever forgettable Forever Flawless. Anything that decreases the number of annoying salespeople chasing us down Fremont Street Experience (where we work in marketing as our day job) hawking face cream is fine by us.

Here’s a little help with where this demolition site is in relation to things you might recognize, specifically a strip club and some classic neon, including Vegas Vickie.

Las Vegas Club demolition

The good news is we can all start using “Glitter Gulch” again without feeling the urge to get a “Silkwood” shower.

Update (2/23/17): Things move fast in Vegas, and what a difference 24 hours can make. Here’s a photo to keep you abreast, and not just because we love using the word “abreast” as often as possible.

18 fremont construction

Did we mention these demolition guys don’t mess around?

It’s a pretty straight shot to Fremont Street now.

18 Fremont construction

Demolition guys must have really organized closets.

Demolition of the Blowout and Forever Flawless shops is expected to take just a few days (Feb. 24, 2017 is the expected completion date), but there’s much more in the works, so anticipate a cavalcade of security breaches in the months to come.

Update (2/26/17): Like we said, blink and you’ll miss it. We’re pretty sure we said that. Anyway, here’s another look at the site. Cleans up real nice.

18 Fremont construction

A good many great things begin in tiny spaces. Which sounds a lot dirtier than it is.

Yes, yes, there’s video. Demanding, much?

We trust this won’t be our last update about the 18 Fremont construction project, so visit this Las Vegas blog often. Hourly, if possible. No pressure.

28 thoughts on “Construction Begins on 18 Fremont Resort (Las Vegas Club), World Almost Misses It

  1. Rooster

    Man, I can hardly wait to see what they have planned. Hopefully the new resort will be as affordable as others downtown, and not have strip prices.

      1. Scott Roeben Post author

        Hopefully, by the time it opens, nobody will have resort fees because legislators will handle their business!

  2. chewieb

    These little shops were 24 E Fremont St, long separated into two business, but never a casino. Going back to the 50s-60s, they were Dixie Deli, and a pawn shop. Any idea of this address was owned by the same folks who had the casinos on either side?

    1. Bouldersteve

      No. The Las Vegas club was owned by the Plaza and the Strip Club and Mermaids were owned by Steve Burnstine. Those two shops that were demolished were owned by the same person but not the Plaza or Burnstine. Burnstine also owned that slot casino next to Golden Gate before selling it to Stevens.

      1. chewieb

        I meant Glitter Gulch and Mermaids as “the casinos on either side,” though one hadn’t been a casino in decades. If the shops hadn’t been under the same ownership, that explains why they were still shops.

        You’re correct that the other casino (LaBayou) was the same biz as Gulch & Mermaids.

      2. Scott Roeben Post author

        Right. Shops were owned by Haim Gabay. Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch were purchased from Steve Burnstine (Granite Gaming Group). Las Vegas Club was Tamares Group, owners of Plaza.

    2. Scott Roeben Post author

      As other commenters may have mentioned, the shops were owned by Haim Gabay. He used the proceeds to purchase the Bonanza Gift Shop. Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch were purchased from Steve Burnstine (Granite Gaming Group). Las Vegas Club was Tamares Group, owners of Plaza.

  3. LVBigBear

    A) The kids today occasionally say “full speed ahead” instead of “full steam ahead”
    B) But thars gold (or diamonds) in them thar face creams

    1. Gal XE Questr

      We old folks may also go with “warp speed”, or “pedal to the metal.” Possibly even “engaging Infinite Improbability Drive.”

  4. Kodidog

    Why you sneaky B******! 🙂 LOVE that we can look over your shoulder (well us, and security, if they are around). Keep the good news coming, Scott!

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      Agree. Jury’s still out on Resorts World, as you know. I did see fresh dirt being moved around, but so far, efforts to convince the public something’s happening have been weak.

    1. Scott Roeben Post author

      As with most downtown casinos now, there probably will be a charge, but those who play or dine there will be able to validate. The new resort is likely to have parking across the street in the lot next to Plaza.


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