All the Latest From the Las Vegas Club Demolition

We know you’d be lost without knowing the latest about the demolition of the Las Vegas Club, so we’re all over it!

The project is moving along at a brisk pace, and crews have just about completed demolishing the Las Vegas Club’s parking structure.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Somebody has a very extensive rubble collection.

Excavators have also started carving out a bottom portion of the Las Vegas Club’s north hotel tower.

Las Vegas Club demolition

The Las Vegas Club’s hotel towers closed years before its casino was put out of its misery on Aug. 19, 2015.

Here’s an exclusive look at the demolition happening at 18 Fremont, and pay special attention to the large yellow excavator being assembled at the site.

Oh, yes. Bronto is here.

Bronto is the nickname of the CAT 5110B Ultra High-Reach excavator which will soon take apart both Las Vegas Club hotel towers. Bronto (short for brontosaurus) is North America’s longest reach excavator, and was delivered on eight trucks.

Hear the General Superintendent for the demolition site, Greg Goscenski of North American Dismantling Corp., talk about the excavator and other details of the demolition on our podcast. We knew doing a podcast would come in handy someday.

Here’s Bronto in all his glory. Or her glory. It’s Vegas, so we’re not about labels, we’re about bigass pieces of machinery.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Yes, Bronto is happy to see you.

What can we tell you about Bronto, which the demolition guys tend to refer to as the “fifty-one ten high reach”?

The excavator was brought in from Denver for the 18 Fremont gig. Assembly of the machine started on Aug. 30, 2017.

Bronto weighs a staggering 580,000 pounds, and has a reach of 182 feet.

Las Vegas Club demolition

The only thing that could console us about the fact there won’t be an implosion is the fact there’s a bigass excavator.

The southernmost Las Vegas Club hotel tower is concrete and will come down first. The north tower is made of steel and will be wrapped in mesh before being dismantled.

The demolition at 18 Fremont, of course, is to make way for a new resort expected to open in 2020.

For better or worse, expect more updates soon. We have issues.

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Caesars Palace Security Breaches Reveal Hell’s Kitchen Progress, Fountain Mystery

Up for a couple of security breaches at Caesars Palace? We’ve got this.

The transformation of the former Serendipity 3 into Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen restaurant is well under way at Caesars Palace.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

At the moment, it’s less Hell’s Kitchen and more “Who in the hell is going to clean this up?”

Caesars Entertainment is clearly sparing no expense on the new Hell’s Kitchen restaurant, as demolition work has stripped the building down to its steel beams.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

We didn’t even have time to say “Dibs on the Tiffany lamp!”

The extensive demolition provides the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant designers, Jeffrey Beers International, a virtual “tabula rasa” where they can re-invent the venue unencumbered by the restraints of the previous space. Yes, we’re drunk.

Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen is expected to open by Dec. 1, 2017, and will be the celebrity chef’s fifth restaurant in Las Vegas.

Hell's Kitchen restaurant

Work your magic, Las Vegas construction elves.

While we’re excited to see further progress at Hell’s Kitchen, we were even more excited to get a peek behind the construction wall around the iconic Caesars Palace fountains nearby.

A peek over the wall shows an outcropping of pillar-shaped additions to the fountains, and we honestly have no idea what they are.

Caesars Palace fountains

Not gonna lie, we’re hyperventilating right now.

It appears the famous statue in the fountains is still standing, but the Winged Victory of Samothrace replica is now in the company of more than a dozen mysterious metal poles jutting up from the bone-dry fountain.

Caesars Palace fountains

We love a good mystery, but we’d like having this mystery solved even more.

The metallic protrusions, wrapped in packing material, rest upon a framework that sits at what will be water level when (or perhaps if) the fountains are filled again.

Is it temporary? Is it permanent? Is it related to Hell’s Kitchen restaurant? Are we looking at the next iteration of the Caesars Palace fountain experience, one of the best Las Vegas photo ops, ever? Will there be lights? Lasers? Fire? Are these questions getting annoying yet?

Caesars Palace fountains

Oh, like we weren’t going to dig up a “before” photo. Do you know this blog at all?

Remember, you saw it here first, whatever the hell it might actually be. We’d love to hear your guesses!

Update (9/11/17): Our friends at Eater Vegas say it’s a “temporary Samsung Galaxy Studio” being built over the fountain, where customers will be able to pick up orders and try the company’s products. When the “exhibit” closes, the fountains will return to their original state, and we’ll all need a Silkwood shower because, seriously, is nothing sacred?

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Ep. 60: So Much Vegas, You May Rupture Your Lap Band

It’s the podcast your mother warned you about, just before she sexted us!

In this week’s hastily slapped-together episode, we make it rain exclusives like we’re at the Cromwell.

We’ve got the latest on the Fontainebleau sale, the end of Vegas Seven’s print edition and augmented reality on the way to the Big Apple coaster at New York-New York.

We chat up an epic human who also happens to be the Director of Hooch (sorry, “Beverage”) at The D and Golden Gate and Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, David Rosborough.

David Rosborough Golden Gate

David Rosborough is one of our favorite casino executives, ever, and not entirely because he holds the key to all the liquor. Primarily, but not entirely.

Get the inside scoop about the monster excavator, nicknamed Bronto (for brontosaurus), that will take down the hotel towers at Las Vegas Club.

We pulled Greg Goscenski, General Superintendent for North American Dismantling Corp., off the demolition site to give you the skinny you won’t get anywhere else.

Las Vegas Club demolition

That yellow thing is the base of the bigass excavator (also known as “Bronto”). The orange thing is the crane being used to assemble it.

Naturally, we round up the latest Las Vegas news, and crank out an obligatory “Listicle of the Week.” This time around, we rattle off “12 Places to Satisfy Your Munchies (or Drunchies) in Las Vegas.”

We cap off our 60th episode with a conversation with Markham Anderson. Anderson is the voice actor behind Pappy and Zoltar, the characters inside those ubiquitous fortune-telling and penny-crushing machines around Las Vegas and the country.

With more than 212,000 downloads, we’re feeling pretty feisty, so listen in and revel in the unlistenability of the ninth best podcast in Las Vegas, the Vital Vegas Podcast.

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Popular Vegas Seven Magazine to Go Out of Print

A popular Las Vegas weekly magazine, Vegas Seven, will mark its last print edition on Sep. 21, 2017.

Vegas Seven is published by Wendoh Media, and will transition to an all-digital platform following its final edition which will feature the Life is Beautiful music festival, which it co-owns.

Vegas Seven magazine

Vegas Seven has been an invaluable part of the Las Vegas conversation since 2010.

Vegas Seven magazine launched in 2010 and has become essential reading for Las Vegas enthusiasts.

From the Vegas Seven Web site: “Unlike most weeklies, Vegas Seven touches on all categories of Las Vegas life—from fashion and food to health and sports to politics and education.” We’re pretty sure Las Vegas Weekly does that, too, but let’s not get bogged down with details.

And let’s not forget nightlife. Vegas Seven has been one of the primary advertising vehicles of Las Vegas nightclubs and dayclubs in recent years, with more DJ interviews than even we thought possible.

Vegas Seven magazine

One of our few gripes about Vegas Seven was its use of microfonts after a recent redesign. We love pretty pictures, but not at the expense of words and readability.

The economic challenges of producing print news publications have been well documented, especially related to newspapers.

The financial landscape at Vegas Seven is clearly changing, and even if the publication continues with an all-digital format, resources are certain to shift, and the magazine’s schedule and editorial mix are likely to change as well.

Our biggest concern is that a shake-up could mean we stop getting weekly columns from our favorite Vegas Seven contributors and friends, Dave Schwartz, of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research and Anthony Curtis of the Las Vegas Advisor.

No official announcement of the end of the print version of Vegas Seven has been made, but you know our philosophy: If it’s in a news release, it’s too late.™

Here’s hoping Vegas Seven finds a new life online, as you can never get too much Vegas.

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New York-New York’s Roller Coaster Set to Be a VR Coaster

Virtual reality seems to be taking over Las Vegas, and the iconic roller coaster at New York-New York is rumored to be converting to a VR Coaster soon.

Virtual reality roller coasters, or VR Coasters, have been in existence since 2015, and there are currently about 20 operating at theme parks throughout the U.S.

On VR Coasters, riders don virtual reality headsets, and animations inside the headsets are synchronized to the movements of the real world roller coaster.

New York-New York VR coaster

Hold onto your virtual moobs.

The conversion of the Big Apple Coaster at New York-New York to a VR Coaster is a brilliant business move. It provides a unique experience, it encourages those who have ridden the coaster before to do it again, and it also gives the resort an opportunity to bump up the ticket price to enhance the bottom line.

At the moment, tickets for the Big Apple Coaster are a very reasonable $15.

Once the coaster becomes a virtual reality roller coaster, the price could be bumped up to $25 or more. Multiply that $10 increase over the approximately 1.4 million customers each year, and New York-New York and its parent company, MGM Resorts, are in for a windfall.

Here’s a look at a promotional video for VR Coasters, although, from what we hear, there’s no video that can really show the exhilaration guests experience on a VR-equipped ride.

There’s been no official announcement yet, but our philosophy is if it’s in a news release, it’s too damned late.™

Word is New York-New York is partnering with a German company to bring the VR Coaster experience to the Strip resort.

We haven’t ferreted out the name of the company yet, but a company called VR Coaster seems a likely candidate. They got the VR Coaster ball rolling, and describe themselves as “pioneers of the augmented thrill ride.”

New York-New York casino

You’re so pretty.

While can be some perils with VR Coasters, mostly related to motion sickness when VR units are out of sync with the movement of the ride, a VR Coaster at New York-New York has virtually limitless potential.

We are not a roller coaster person (mainly because we tend to be a motion sickness and terrified-of-heights person), but give us an animation that includes some stunning Las Vegas effects or a Las Vegas-themed adventure, and we’d be all over it.

From what we understand, the VR feature on the New York-New York roller coaster will be an optional element, and guests can still ride the coaster in the traditional manner.

To be clear, the Big Apple coaster isn’t going anywhere! The ride will just be “enhanced” to include the virtual reality capability, also known as an “upsell.”

Our inside scoop about the New York-New York’s coaster becoming a VR Coaster follows on the heels of another virtual reality-related announcement, which we reported nearly two months before it came out in a news release, of course.

The first multi-player, free-roam VR experience in Las Vegas is set to open at Level Up inside MGM Grand on Sep. 8, 2017.

Up to eight players will navigate a 2,000-square-foot arena and play one of three, 30-minute experiences at a cost of about $50 a pop.

Here’s a look at what it’s like to get your VR nerd on.

The three VR experiences are Zombie Survival (blast zombies, already), Singularity (blast rogue robits, already) and Engineerium (solve physics-based puzzles, already).

The new VR experience at Level Up, from a company called Zero Latency, seems to be a response to a failed attempt to get approval for its arena-style gaming area (from a company called Interblock) that was supposed to “revolutionize the casino player culture.” We are not making this up.

Level Up has struggled since it opened at the end of 2016, but a virtual reality arena could give it a much-needed boost.

Level Up MGM Grand

MGM Grand’s Level Up hasn’t found a foothold yet, but it may just find a virtual one.

Other VR experiments have been showing up around Las Vegas, including a VR lounge at Alto Bar at Caesars Palace, and we even spotted a virtual reality kiosk at Harmon Corner.

There’s also a VR Adventures location at the Linq promenade.

VR Adventures Linq

Warning: Virtual reality headsets do not prevent pregnancy, but they do prevent sex, which is sort of the same thing.

At one point, there were rumblings about a “virtual reality theme park” coming to town, but we haven’t heard anything more about it. Don’t hold your breath.

Virtual reality seems a good fit for Las Vegas, as the city constantly strives to evolve its entertainment offerings. There’s even been talk of strip clubs integrating virtual reality.

In a way, Las Vegas is a city built on virtual reality, or at least an alternate one.

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Fontainebleau Las Vegas Sold for $600 Million Clams

As we first shared on Aug. 21, 2017, it’s now been officially announced Fontainebleau Las Vegas has been sold for $600 million.

The abandoned project was sold by bajillionaire Carl Icahn to two real estate firms, Witkoff, a “global real estate development and investment firm,” and New Valley, an investment company.

A rep from Witkoff said the purchase marks his company’s foray into “the supply-constrained and fundamentally strong Las Vegas market,” which makes it sound so much more sexy than it really is.

Fontainebleau

Aw, man, this might be our last chance to use this photo. Oh, well.

In a news release, Steve Witkoff, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Witkoff, said, “2755 Las Vegas Boulevard South is one of the best physical assets in the country, which is one of the reasons we were attracted to it. Furthermore, the resort is ideally located on the Las Vegas Strip, directly across from the Las Vegas Convention Center, which is in the midst of a $1.4 billion expansion and renovation. At the basis, we acquired a well-designed, structurally sound integrated resort at a significant discount to both replacement cost and the implied public market valuations of comparable Las Vegas Strip resorts.”

Witkoff continued, “Las Vegas is one of the strongest lodging markets in the country given its highly favorable dynamics. RevPAR and EBITDA growth continue to accelerate and there has been no new supply since 2010.”

RevPAR is “revenue per available room,” and EBITDA is “earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization,” a measure of a company’s operating performance.

During the economic downturn, Carl Icahn purchased Fontainebleau, pronounced “fountain blue,” for $150 million ($148 million, to be precise).

We are no math expert, but that means Icahn made $450 millionish on the deal. Or roughly double what he’s carrying in his pants pockets right now. (Realistically, though, there are costs associated with maintaining even an empty building, so his actual profit on the deal was less.)

Fontainebleau wrap

At the moment, Fontainebleau is less shimmer, more meh.

Specific plans for the former Fontainebleu Las Vegas haven’t been articulated yet, but it’s likely it will be rebranded and open as a hotel or (fingers crossed) shimmering “new” hotel-casino.

It’s been suggested this won’t happen for at least 2-3 years, so manage those expectations.

Deep thanks to our tipster who helped us break this story before the rest of the world.

We remain giddy about this news, and look forward to seeing what’s ahead for Fontainebleau, the tallest non-Stratosphere building in Las Vegas and a monument to WTF.

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