Category Archives: Riviera Demolition

Demolition of Riviera Las Vegas Begins

Demolition of the Riviera has begun in earnest at the shuttered Las Vegas hotel-casino.

While specific dates for implosions of the Riviera’s two hotel towers have yet to be announced, it’s likely they’ll come down in June and August 2016.

In the meantime, about a dozen other low-rise buildings on the site will be demolished in a less dramatic fashion, with wrecking balls, excavators and bulldozers.

That process has already under way. Here’s a look at the hotel’s former convention center.

Riviera demolition

Work crews take giant bites out of Riviera’s convention center.

The Riviera closed May 4, 2015. The intended purpose of the site is to expand the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Riviera demolition

Demolition crews were working on a weekend, so we figure the schedule must be ambitious.

While we were snapping pics of the destruction, we captured some video, too. We tried adding some upbeat music, but it’s still a little sad.

Demolition of the Riviera is expected to cost $44 million by the time the work is completed.

Although some of the hotel’s signs are being saved, in a few months the Riviera will be an empty lot. The site’s first post-demolition use, in early 2017, is expected to be as an outdoor exhibit space for the Con-Expo/ConAgg construction equipment trade show. We’re atingle with anticipation.

Riviera demolition

Can we just skip to the part where stuff gets blowed up?

The demolition of the Riviera is bittersweet for many Las Vegas fans. While it became run-down in recent years, for many it was one of the last remaining classic Las Vegas casinos, complete with lots of gorgeous neon.

Riviera demolition implosion

Riviera opened April 20, 1955. This photo was taken on April 23, 2016. Worst 61st birthday party, ever.

We’ll keep an eye on the old girl in the weeks to come.

Riviera’s Iconic Sign is Removed, Set for Restoration in Reno

The iconic neon “Riviera” has been removed from the facade of the now-closed Las Vegas hotel.

The unmistakable lettering was carefully taken down piece by piece by the Federal Heath Sign company, and a neon sign collector is expected to restore it.

Riviera sign

While not commonly known, “Riviera” got its name because it’s an anagram for “I arrive.” Then again, it may not be commonly known because we just made that up.

Some Las Vegas media have reported the removed sign will end up in the Neon Museum, but this particular element of Riviera’s classic facade is going to a sign collector, Will Durham.

Durham hopes to raise the funds needed to publicly display his collection of neon signs in Reno, Nevada.

Durham’s crowd-sourcing page says of the Riviera, “We cannot save the structures but we can save the most identifiable architectural elements, the neon signs. For the last year we have been working with the LVCVA to arrange for the preservation of two very important signs before the buildings are demolished.”

Here’s the former Riviera sign in all its glory. The Riviera sign replaced another for “Splash,” a show that closed in October 2006. Take a look.

Riviera Las Vegas

Sadly, to save this entire Las Vegas facade, they’d need another wing at the Neon Museum.

Read more about Will Durham’s plans for the Riviera’s classic signage. Durham plans to rescue another Riviera sign, one on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd. and Riviera Blvd.

Durham says the Riviera signs “will be safely stored until they are installed in a major exhibition that celebrates Nevada’s neon heritage currently under development.”

Let’s hope all that comes to fruition.

Riviera Las Vegas hotel casino

Don’t cry because it’s over. Cry because it’s not humanly possible to procreate with neon. Probably.

The Riviera is set to be demolished at a cost of nearly $44 million.

The hotel’s two towers will presumably be imploded at separate times, one in June and another in August 2016.

Although, those with a knowledge of new OSHA rules about “respirable crystalline silica” seem to think Las Vegas hotel tower implosions are now as likely as magician Jan Rouven being hired as a nanny.

Riviera neon sign

This beauty ended up at the Neon Museum, sans the gorgeous vertical tubes. They need to invent a sad emoticon just for situations like this.

Fun fact: It’s estimated there are more than 15,000 miles of neon in Las Vegas.

Following the hotel’s demolition, the site will be used for an expansion to the Las Vegas Convention Center. Which, according to our calculations, is approximately a bajillion times less fun than even the most run-down Las Vegas casino.

Riviera’s “Crazy Girls” Will Move to Planet Hollywood’s Sin City Theatre

When Riviera closes, it’s longtime topless revue, “Crazy Girls,” will take a short break, then move to the Sin City Theatre at Planet Hollywood.

The future has been uncertain for “Crazy Girls,” perhaps known more for its bronze “No Ifs, Ands Or…” statue than any entertainment value. Other than boobs. Which we’re firmly not against.

Reps of the Sin City Theatre confirmed the show’s move after it was originally reported by the Las Vegas Sun.

Sin City Theatre

Laughter and breasts go together like Las and Vegas.

While it was originally reported the Sin City Theatre would be renamed the Crazy Girls Theatre, the folks at Sin City Theatre state the name of the theater will remain the same. Yes, complete with that awkward, anti-American spelling of “theatre.”

“Crazy Girls” will take up residence along with the theater’s other shows, including a magic show, “Murray Live,” a U2 tribute show, “Compedium: U2” and “Sin City Comedy & Burlesque,” a mixture of stand-up comedy and the aforementioned boobs. Which we’re also not against, for the record.

See more about the shows at Sin City Theatre.

The fate of the famous “Crazy Girls” statue now seems to be assured. A dispute between Riviera ownership and the show’s producer, Norbert Aleman, has been resolved, and it appears Aleman will be moving the statue with the show to Planet Hollywood.

Aleman has confirmed the statue will be removed from in front of Riviera at 9:00 a.m. on May 4.

Riviera Crazy Girls

If you think we’re going to make some asinine crack about this statue, you couldn’t be more wrong.

There’s been no comment or official announcement from Planet Hollywood or the hotel’s owner, Caesars Entertainment, about all this yet.

We suspect, though, there will be a good deal of hoopla around the installation and unveiling of the statue in its new location (our bet’s on a photo op with scantily-clad performers re-creating the famous statue). The likely location? Outside Planet Hollywood, along the busy pedestrian walkway, the closer to Cabo Wabo Cantina the better for visibility. (P.S. Don’t go to Cabo Wabo Cantina, by the way.)

The relocated statue is sure to provide great publicity for the show as Vegas visitors grab photos of themselves rubbing the pulchritudinous posteriors (already polished to a high sheen by Riviera guests) for good luck on their way into the casino.

After 28 years, the final performance of “Crazy Girls” at Riviera is set for Friday, May 1, 2015. The Riv closes for good May 4, 2015 to make way for a convention center expansion, we yawned.

It’s expected “Crazy Girls” will re-open at Planet Hollywood on May 13, 2015. There have been rumors the Sin City Theatre show will have “new numbers come in and some new acts, some new apparatuses.” This blog tends to be a fan of apparatuses.

The new version of “Crazy Girls” will have 42.857% more performers (from seven to 10) when it moves to Planet Hollywood, according to the producer.

We’re pleasantly surprised to hear “Crazy Girls” has found a new home, despite our sense “Crazy Girls” might not easily find another venue. (At least we weren’t foolish enough to make that prediction publicly, like in a recent KNPR interview about the Riviera.)

We’ll be sure to keep you abreast of any further “Crazy Girls” news!

Riviera Sale and Demolition Details Confirmed: LVCVA to Pay $182.5 Million

As we first shared weeks ago, the impending sale of the Riviera Las Vegas has been confirmed. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority will buy Riviera for $182.5 million.

The Riviera Las Vegas will close May 4, 2015.

The Riviera will be demolished as part of an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Read more from the LVCVA.

Crazy Girls statue

What, we were going to share another picture of the hotel facade?

The Riviera sale will include a “lease-back” agreement that will keep the Riviera’s management company, Paragon Gaming, operating the casino as plans are made for the hotel-casino’s closure.

The sale of the Riviera has been in the works for some time. The LVCVA got a $275 million loan approval back in September 2014 for the Riviera purchase. Read more.

An LVCVA board vote is the only remaining step before the sale happens. That’s a done deal on Feb. 20, 2015. The Riviera will officially change hands in late August.

While bittersweet news, the sale and demolition of Riviera is a piece of a much bigger puzzle. According to the LVCVA, they’ve had to pass on about 20 annual trade shows (huge business drivers in Las Vegas) due to space and scheduling issues.

The Riviera land is 26.4 acres, and a key part of bringing new trade and convention business to Las Vegas. Which, admittedly, is infinitely less fun than a casino, but when money flows in, new casinos get built, and others thrive. Just trust that Las Vegas knows what it’s doing, already.

Today’s announcement made no mention about the future of Peppermill restaurant, which many of our readers seem more upset about than the closing of The Riv. The Peppermill has denied it’s going anywhere.

Interesting times ahead, and the Las Vegas Strip just won’t be the same without The Riv.

Update: On February 20, 2015, the board of the LVCVA approved the purchase of the Riviera. So, done deal.

Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) Will Buy and Demolish Riviera Las Vegas

It’s hard to keep a secret in Vegas, and this one’s juicy. The official announcement is still a few days off, but the story behind our earlier report of the Riviera being sold appears to be coalescing. The classic Riviera Hotel & Casino is being purchased by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) and will be demolished.

Update (Feb. 17, 2015): The Riviera sale has been confirmed. Sale price: $182.5 million. Read the latest.

Our friends at Las Vegas Advisor spilled the beans about the still-unconfirmed specifics of the sale, bolstering earlier rumors about the impending sale and non-gaming use of the land after the hotel’s demise. Thanks to our pal Marc at Edge Vegas for initially pointing us toward rumors of the sale.

Riviera Las Vegas

Dibs on the neon. Yes, all of it.

Details aren’t expected until the official announcement of the sale on Feb. 17, 2015, but word has it the LVCVA will demolish The Riv and expand the footprint of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

One source is reporting the company which recently imploded the Clarion hotel was also asked for a bid to demolish the Riviera Las Vegas.

Sadness at losing an iconic casino aside, this scenario makes sense given the LVCVA’s Las Vegas Global Business District project. A news release for the $2.3 billion project states, “Including public areas and service areas, the expansion and renovation expand the facility from its current total footprint of 3.2 million square feet to nearly 5.7 million square feet. Once construction begins, the entire project is expected to take 5-8 years to complete.” See details.

Riviera Las Vegas

There’s a lot of Las Vegas at the Riviera.

A potential timeline for the demolition of the Riviera has emerged following our initial reporting of the sale.

Our buddy John Katsilometes of the Las Vegas Sun writes, “According to those familiar with the transaction, the purchase of the Riviera from its current owner, lending company Starwood Capital Group, would lead to the closing of the hotel as early as May. The LVCVA would then order the demolition of the building by the end of June.”

According to one of our readers, the “entire management team” of Riviera (a company called Paragon Gaming) has already moved to the Westgate Las Vegas. Paragon Gaming provides (or provided) “oversight of the executive level management, financial, marketing, business and organizational strategy services” to Riviera.

So, assuming that’s how this is going to play out, it’s time to swing by the Riviera for a keepsake chip and one last rub of those Crazy Girls cheeks.

Crazy Girls statue

You will be ours. Oh, yes, you will be ours.

The Riviera Las Vegas opened in 1955 and has 2,100 rooms. The Riv was the ninth resort on the Las Vegas Strip, and when it opened, was included in a Life Magazine story with the headline, “Las Vegas—Is Boom Overextended?”

The Riviera was mobbed up, as many Las Vegas hotels were, in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Marx brother, on the advice of Gummo, owned about 10% of the Riviera at one time. Rat Pack member Dean Martin was also had an ownership stake in the Riviera at one time.

The hotel has played host to some notable performers and shows, including Liberace, the aforementioned Dean Martin, and shows like “Splash” and “An Evening at La Cage,” precursor to female impersonator Frank Marino’s popular “Divas Las Vegas,” now at The Linq hotel. The Riv is currently home to the last big cat show on The Strip, Dirk Arthur Wild Illusions.

Numerous feature films have featured the Riviera, including 1960’s “Oceans Eleven,” “Casino,” “Showgirls,” “Vegas Vacation,” “3000 Miles to Graceland” and “The Hangover.”

Because of its proximity to the Riviera, concerns have been raised about the beloved Peppermill restaurant and lounge being included in the deal, but a rep from the restaurant swears “no.” (Then again, front-line employees often don’t know about behind-the-scenes deal-making.) Our longtime reader Steven Brown suggests it’s possible that while the land under the Peppermill has been purchased by the LVCVA, there’s no reason to think the popular hangout will close anytime soon. We’ll see! Here’s the latest.

Riviera has been a colorful part of Las Vegas, but as we’ve come to learn, the only constant in Las Vegas is change. Well, that and sure-fire roulette systems. But mostly that first thing.

The Riviera will be missed.