The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has decided the end is near for the 60-year-old Riviera casino-hotel on the Strip. While seeking the funds needed to expand the city’s convention center to the site, the authority decided to demolish and pave over the casino rather than let it sit vacant.
“The Riv” closed in May of this year after the Authority bought it for $182.5 million in February. How and when the estimated $40 million demolition will occur hasn’t been decided, but it will likely require explosives and a tear-down. When the convention center expands to the site, its footprint will grow from 3.1 million square feet to 5 million.
All eight of the Authority’s board members present at the meeting voted to tear down the casino rather than pay $5 to $10 million annually to keep the building standing.
The gaming floor of the 2,100-room resort was roughly 100,00 square feet with about 1,000 slot machines, 25 table games, and a bingo room. Despite staying open for over half a century, the casino’s history is rich with mob involvement and money troubles.
The hotel, which opened its doors for the first time in April of 1955, closed a month after its 60th birthday. Just three months later, the casino went bankrupt and a group of former Flamingo Hotel managers took over operation of the property. The Riviera also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 1983.
After undergoing major renovations from 1988 to 1990, Riviera Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy again in July of 2010. The company had 1,300 employees in Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: J.J. Musgrove, Creative Commons.)
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