Category Archives: Las Vegas Club Demolition

Details Emerge of Las Vegas Club, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch Demolition, Plus Vegas Vickie’s Fate

There’s a lot going on at the Las Vegas Club site in downtown Las Vegas, and we’ve got all the skinny about the upcoming demolition set to clear the way for a new hotel-casino.

See all our coverage of the Las Vegas Club demolition.

Demolition of a one block site at Fremont Street and Main, informally called “18 Fremont,” will begin on or around July 15, 2017.

All the structures on the block will be taken down to ground level, including the closed Las Vegas Club casino and its two hotel towers, Mermaids casino and Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.

At one time, it was believed the older of the two Las Vegas Club hotel towers would be imploded, but it’s now been decided no implosion will take place.

Las Vegas Club

If you’re a fan of things being “blowed up real good,” sorry. The Las Vegas Club hotel towers are coming down with a whimper, not a bang.

Demolition in mid-July will begin with a small office structure once used as the management offices of Granite Gaming, owners of Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. Removal of that building, along with a couple of smaller buildings (one a power house, another an “annex”), will make way for some heavy duty demolition equipment to set up shop in the middle of the block.

One of the cranes which will be moved into the site is said to be the largest demolition crane of its kind in the world.

Next, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch will bite the dust.

Mermaids casino

This makes Mermaids prettier than it actually was, trust us.

The owners of the property, Derek and Greg Stevens, along with their team, have devoted an extraordinary amount of time creating an inventory of the signage on all the structures involved in the demolition.

Vegas Vickie, for example, will be removed from the Glitter Gulch facade on June 12, 2017.

It’s estimated the Stevens will invest $11,000 just to remove the iconic sign. There are questions as to whether Vegas Vickie can even be removed intact given her deteriorated condition.

Vegas Vickie

It’s unclear whether Vegas Vickie’s removal will necessitate a divorce from Vegas Vic. They were married in 1994. Not kidding.

Vegas Vickie will ultimately be restored and put on display. Exactly where Vickie will end up hasn’t been decided, but early word is that it will most certainly remain in downtown Las Vegas and is expected to be even more accessible for photo ops.

In the meantime, she’ll be packed up and kept in storage until details of a new location can be sorted out.

It’s estimated the cost of restoring Vegas Vickie could be as much as $100,000. Talk about high maintenance.

There are dozens of other signs in and around Las Vegas Club, Mermaids and Glitter Gulch, including another classic sign, a neon beauty which reads Golden Goose.

Golden Goose casino

Golden Goose opened as the State Cafe. Then it was was Buckley’s Casino, and later the Mecca Casino. Oh, like you’re going to remember all this.

Many of the signs will be salvaged prior to the demolition, and Derek Stevens has said some signs and other fixtures in and on the buildings will be given away in casino promotions. Listen to our recent podcast to hear more.

We’ve learned exclusively the giveaways will begin in August 2017, and players will have a chance to win letters from the various “Las Vegas Club” signs at the site. There are 24 letters up for grabs.

Las Vegas Club sign

Dibs on a “V.” Because Vital Vegas. Please try and keep up.

The demolition will continue around the site, with the Las Vegas Club’s street level casino next on the chopping block.

Then, it’s on to a parking structure on the northeast side of the site.

Finally, the older of the two hotel towers (14 stories) will be taken down, then the newer tower (15 stories) will meet its end. The buildings won’t be taken down floor by floor, but in “columns.”

Here’s a look at the various phases of the demolition project at 18 Fremont.

18 Fremont demolition

Here’s the plan. 1. Granite Gaming office. 2. Mermaids and Glitter Gulch. 3. Las Vegas Club casino. 4. Parking structure. 5. Old tower. 6. New tower.

By the way, the band names on the rooftops are remnants of a video used to promote the Life is Beautiful music festival back in 2015.

That’s Fremont Street Experience in the upper right of the photo, where we work in digital marketing as our day job. The D and Golden Gate, part of the Fremont Street Experience, are owned by the Stevens.

If all goes as planned, demolition at the 18 Fremont site will be completed in November 2017.

In an intriguing twist, it’s been announced slot play will return to Las Vegas Club and Mermaids for eight hours each on June 27-28, 2017.

A quirky (and costly) gaming rule requires that slot play be made available to the public for at least eight hours every two years. Yes, it’s a deeply stupid rule, but hey, this blog loves it some quirky. Check out our visit to another temporary casino, Moulin Rouge.

temporary casino

Yeah, not exactly your typical flashy Las Vegas casino. The worst part: No cocktail service.

One of the stranger aspects of the whole temporary casino nonsense is casino owners don’t keep the money played on the machines. The whole operation is set up by a vendor, United Coin Machine.

So, that should provide some idea of what’s going down at the former Las Vegas Club at 18 Fremont. The official name of the new resort has yet to be announced, but trust us, we’re doing a lot of poking around.

The Las Vegas Club opened in 1930 and had the second neon sign in all of Las Vegas (the first at a casino). The Las Vegas Club closed at midnight on August 19, 2015. Glitter Gulch closed on June 27, 2016. Mermaids closed on June 27, 2016.

There’s lots of new and shiny on the way, but first there’s some serious house cleaning to do.

Expect more photos, drone footage and security breaches in the months to come. Allegedly.

Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 52: Comp Drinks, New Sigma Derby, 18 Fremont Demolition, SLS Sale and More

How much Vegas can a single podcast episode hold? This much.

In this installment of the grossly overrated Vital Vegas Podcast, we interview Albert Tabola of Ardent Progressive Systems & Games, the company installing comp drink validation systems in casinos across Las Vegas.

Tabola shares that comp drinking monitoring, now on about 1,000 video poker machines in Las Vegas, will soon be coming to casino floors as well.

As an added bonus, Ardent’s developing a new game, Classic Derby, likely to give the beloved Sigma Derby a run for its money.

Ardent Classic Derby

Love Sigma Derby? This is what’s next.

Also in this episode, we catch up with Derek Stevens, owner of The D, Golden Gate and Downtown Las Vegas Events Center.

Stevens shares the latest news about the upcoming demolition of the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch strip club and Mermaids on Fremont Street.

He also provides some insight into the potential fate of the iconic Vegas Vickie sign currently sitting atop the Glitter Gulch strip club.

18 Fremont demolition

A full block, including two Las Vegas Club hotel towers, are coming down. We’ve got all the details.

But wait, there’s more.

Listen in as we share a metric hell-ton of exclusive stories, including more scoop about the sale of SLS Las Vegas. We also clear up a rumor about the demise of the Bellagio fountains.

Our weekly news round-up includes stories about the theft of 30,000 condoms from a Las Vegas sex toy warehouse, new restaurants coming to the Forum Shops (Slanted Door) and Park MGM (Bavette’s Steakhouse) and the shark tank at Golden Nugget.

Our “Listicle of the Week” is inspired by a note from a Brit, Joe, from Birmingham, U.K. We dole out our best tips for people with foreign accents, including our picks of the best happy hour on The Strip, the best buffets and the best hotel for free things to see and do.

107 SkyLounge

You’ll never guess our pick for the best happy hour on The Strip.

Oh, and did we mention we also get to the bottom of how one should pronounce the best gelato flavor, ever?

It’s all this and much, much less in the latest installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast.

Take a listen and you’re pretty much sure to get a thank-you note from your cochlea.

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.

Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch Close to Make Way for New Downtown Resort

Three mainstays of Fremont Street have shuttered at once, for good: Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch.

Mermaids closes

You either get Vegas or you don’t. So, do.

Each of the now-closed establishments has a long and glorious history, which we are
obviously far too lazy to actually look up.

Instead, let’s take a superficial look at these longtime fixtures of downtown Las Vegas.

Glitter Gulch was a strip club, the only one on Fremont Street. Glitter Gulch didn’t have
the best reputation, which is perhaps why it closed unceremoniously and under cover of
darkness at 4:00 a.m. on June 27, 2016.

Glitter Gulch strip club

Probably best not to attract too much media attention, if you get our drift. We figure the strip club signage will be around for another 48 hours.

Rumor has it that even when the music stopped and the lights came up, Glitter Gulch patrons
didn’t want to leave. Behold, the power of beer goggles.

Glitter Gulch bar

This never-before-seen rendering shows a proposed facade upgrade and outdoor bar at Girls of Glitter Gulch, which we’re lovingly filing under “lipstick on a pig.” The plan never happened, and now, never will.

Mermaids and La Bayou, on the other hand, closed at 11:00 p.m. on June 27, 2016.

Mermaids

With the closing of Mermaids, our long national apostrophe nightmare is over.

Much of the hoopla at these slot parlors had already taken place, on June 25. That’s the
night Mermaids and La Bayou had to give its progressive jackpots away. Read more.

Still, fans of Mermaids and La Bayou came out in force to say farewell.

The best way we can describe the affection for Mermaids and La Bayou is to compare it to
the first time you had sex. Most people remember it as being much better than it was, and
whatever comes next is bound to be an improvement.

Mermaids

One last moonwalk at Mermaids.

Most people who came out for the closing of Mermaids had deep fried food on their mind. The
casino was known for its inexpensive deep fried Oreos and Twinkies.

A line snaked around the casino’s snack bar area for hours before Mermaids closed, and we
honestly felt like those who were turned away toward the end were going to riot. You know,
like in “Soylent Green.” Although, Soylent Green had more nutritional value.

Mermaids

Earlier in the day, there were false reports Mermaids had run out of Twinkies. We should know, we reported them.

Funny story.

This blog’s place in Mermaids history was secured in true Las Vegas fashion as the snack
bar line came to an end. It was announced the snack bar had run out of product. There was a
collective groan from the remaining guests.

As people drifted away, we seized the moment and approached the counter. “Sir, we’re sorry,
but the snack bar is closed and we have no more product.” At which point we removed a $20
bill from our wallet.

Wait for it.

“Sir, enjoy the last deep fried Oreo ever served at Mermaids.”

These, dear friend, are those very deep fried Oreos. Which, upon reflection, we should have
had bronzed or something.

Mermaids fried Oreo

Twenty bucks for 99-cent fried Oreos and Las Vegas immortality? You bet.

Our decision to eat the last deep fried Oreos ever served at Mermaids was, of course, a
horrible one. The nausea continues even a day later as we write this. Memories to last a
lifetime.

As closing time approached at Mermaids, there were hugs and tears among the employees. Buskers and strippers (many of whom had worked at Glitter Gulch) came by to pay their last respects. There were lots of Las Vegas visitors and locals, too. All left with free beads, a calling card of Mermaids and La Bayou.

Mermaids beads

It’s important you keep your beads organized. You might say we’re anal about beads.

While we may not have too many fond memories of Mermaids, we have two related to La Bayou.

La Bayou was the first place we remember having a strawberry daiquiri in Las Vegas. La Bayou became a favorite jumping off point for many a Las Vegas adventure, at least until the quality of the liquor went downhill dramatically. Then, it was the jumping off point for blackouts, projectile vomiting and lifelong liver damage. We haven’t had one in ages. Still, memories!

We also have a La Bayou memory that was captured on film. Or pixels. Let’s not get bogged down in details.

Pictured below is this blog’s actual grandmother playing her favorite Triple 7s machine at La Bayou in 2009, along with a pina colada and a dream. And an oxygen tube. It’s hard to get any more Vegas than that.

La Bayou grandmother

Miss you, Gram.

We’ll always love this La Bayou moment. It was one of the few times we remember our grandmother truly happy before she passed away some time later. It’s a reminder of how much we had in common, too.

So, what now?

Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch were purchased by Derek and Greg Stevens, the folks who own The D and Golden Gate.

Derek Stevens

New owner Derek Stevens chats with Mermaids staffers. Some will stay on at The D and Golden Gate.

They also own the former Las Vegas Club, so the plan is to create a new resort that will expand the Las Vegas Club footprint and gobble up Glitter Gulch and Mermaids. La Bayou is part of a planned expansion of Golden Gate.

Mermaids Las Vegas closed

Mermaids casino is no more.

It’s never a happy occasion seeing a casino close. Because casinos. Ditto strip clubs, come to think of it.

Given the track record of the Stevens brothers, however, these closures are in service of a larger vision, one that is likely to result in new, shiny (and probably pulchritudinous) things we’re pretty much guaranteed to love.

A new resort will add some much-needed energy and excitement to the west end of Fremont Street and the Fremont Street Experience (where this blog works as its day job, by the way).

Not everyone is a fan of “new,” of course.

Some love their downtown gritty and raw and communicable. We do, too. Just not that raw and gritty and communicable.

La Bayou closed

La bye, you.

We suspect the new resort, with the working name of 18 Fremont, is going to strike a balance. There will be nods to classic Vegas. Vegas Vickie, for example, isn’t going anywhere. She’ll be featured in the new resort.

Mermaids

The change of ownership means Vegas Vickie is likely to get the maintenance she so richly deserves.

While Vegas past will get its due, there will also be fun new diversions. How can we be sure? Because Las Vegas’ main export is diversions.

Mermaids Las Vegas

Don’t freak out. The lights will stay on until demolition begins for the new resort, probably in early 2017.

So, good night Glitter Gulch, Mermaids and La Bayou. And, hello, whatever’s next. It wouldn’t be Las Vegas without a metric ass-ton of next.

Mermaids, La Bayou and Glitter Gulch Close

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