Well, it looks like another one may bite the proverbial dust.
On November 12, 2010, the venerable Plaza Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas will be "temporarily" closing its doors, and it will be laying off 400 workers in the process.
According to a statement from the owners, this will not be a permanent closing, rather, The Plaza will be down for only 12-18 months so that major renovations may be performed on the property. Said Tamares Real Estate (owners since 2004) "[we] will be investing a substantial amount of money into [the] Plaza Hotel and Casino, including renovating all 1,037 guestrooms and hallways, new restaurant and bar concepts and upgrading the casino floor.”
Once reopened, the hotel is planning on adopting the moniker "Union Plaza".
Even though the hotel will be completely out of commission, the casino, Firefly Restaurant and the "Rat Pack is Back" show are scheduled to remain open. At least that is the word at the present time.
Now, you would be forgiven if all of this gives you an eerie sense of deja-vu. In 2006, the Lady Luck closed for twelve months to be "renovated"... and it has remained closed ever since. Also adding to the conspiratorial feelings of this particular closure is the fact that The Plaza has told its employees that the layoffs are permanent, not temporary. A more skeptical or negative person might smell a rat (pack is back), but alas, there is no place for pessimism in Las Vegas. The city is just going through a temporary correction to shake out the weak hands, and it will emerge from this minor setback leaner, meaner, and more profitable than ever.
At least so I've been told.
Mostly by people who live in Las Vegas.
And who own homes.
And can't get out.
I really hope that the party line on this closure meshes with reality. I hope it is temporary, and I hope it opens back up and re-employs another 400 people. Even though I grew to hate, loathe, and despise the Las Vegas Valley as a whole, I still have some affection for Rexville and the greater Downtown environs. It's the one part of town that I liked more with each passing year instead of the other way around. Downtown has been making a larger concerted effort for the tourist gaming dollar since the depression began, and it disappoints me that it continues to suffer.
Each quarter when gaming numbers are released, those numbers show Downtown taking the lion's share of losses. Even though Fremont Street delivers themes, free concerts, free overhead shows, and generally superior gaming odds ... tourists seem reticent to reward their efforts. It seems patently unfair. Sometimes the world is just an unjust place. Frankly, I would rather see every Harrah's property close before a single Fremont venue gets the axe.
Last but not least, Tamares Real Estate issued a statement assuring the public that this closure will not affect either of their other two properties ... the Las Vegas Club and the Western.
Oh Thank God!
I think we'll all sleep better tonight knowing that The Western's future is not in jeopardy. The wrecking ball can have the Bellagio, but it will pry the Western from my cold, dead hands. That's one gem that we cannot afford to lose under any circumstances.
Anyway, I sit here in Las Vegas now, in a house which barely has any furnishings remaining, and hearing the news of this potential closure a mere one mile to the north is yet another bummer. Overall, it's been somewhat of an eye opening trip back "home". I head back to the great Pacific Northwest tomorrow, and I do so with a little more perspective than I had before.
Since I will be in Las Vegas for another 24 hours, I may drop by for some parting shots of The Plaza.
Who knows, it just might be my last opportunity to do so.