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Casino-resort Circa expected to open in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020

The Associated Press
Casino-resort Circa expected to open in downtown Las Vegas in late 2020

LAS VEGAS — Downtown Las Vegas will see its first casino-resort built from the ground up in more than three decades when Circa Resort and Casino opens in December 2020, continuing the resurgence of the area’s Fremont Street entertainment district.

During a recent announcement, the owners promised a boldly designed property that will honour the destination’s vibrant history — complete with an iconic cowgirl neon sign in the lobby — and offer modern amenities.

“We are going to offer things to do with a lot of fun and excitement, no matter what your age is. We are certainly going to have a bit of a focus on sports, water, sun, and it’s all themed around fun and high energy,” co-owner Derek Stevens told the Associated Press. “We are focusing on a design that is consistent with downtown Las Vegas but all new.”

Circa will feature a two-level casino; a three-level, stadium-style sports book equipped with what they claim is the largest screen in a facility of its kind in Las Vegas; and a multi-tiered pool amphitheatre featuring several pools and another massive screen.

“Vegas Vickie,” the famous neon sign of a high-kicking cowgirl in a fringed white outfit that was a staple of the area for decades, will be in the lobby for everyone to photograph. The property will also feature an outdoor bar that is being billed as the longest along the Fremont Street entertainment district.

The property’s hotel tower will be the tallest building north of the Las Vegas Strip. It will add 777 rooms to the destination’s inventory of more than 148,000.

The casino-resorts in downtown Las Vegas are smaller than those on the Strip. They lack the theatres and expansive shopping malls of the megaresorts, but still offer a variety of restaurants, spas and pools, including one that incorporates a shark tank aquarium.

As of June, the 32 properties in the downtown area had 8,481 hotel rooms. Their occupancy rate in the first 11 months of 2018 was 83.7 per cent. The average daily room rate during the same period was $70.29.

Las Vegas’s gambling market, including downtown’s, spiralled downward when the recession hit in 2008. Gambling revenues downtown have since turned around — up 1.1 per cent in the first 11 months of 2018 — and existing casino-hotels have undergone renovations, from expanding their casinos to remodelling rooms.

Circa is not the only planned development in downtown Las Vegas. The Downtown Grand casino-hotel announced it will debut an additional tower with 495 rooms in mid-2020. And the massive video canopy above Fremont Street is set to undergo a renovation that will enhance its resolution.

Stevens said choosing the name was not an easy task, characterizing it as even more difficult than designing the facility itself. The term circa is used when giving the approximate date of when something took place or was made.

“I wanted to make sure that in the design of the resort we remember a little bit of Vegas past while we are building something brand new,” Stevens said. “So, we felt that the name coming together kind of represents a lot of where Las Vegas started in downtown Las Vegas.”

The property’s design also includes a standalone, nine-storey parking garage with considerations for ride-sharing, which didn’t exist when downtown casinos were built. The owners are also aiming to make sure that the property is able to offer a strong Wi-Fi network to allow everyone to post or stream content to social media platforms.

Stevens and his brother, Greg, own the D and Golden Gate casino-hotels and an outdoor events centre in downtown Las Vegas. Circa will occupy an entire city block that once housed the Las Vegas Club casino-hotel, Mermaids casino and the Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.

Stevens said guests of his two existing properties and Las Vegas residents will be able to take advantage of Circa’s pool, which will show sporting and other events and will be available for corporations to use to launch products.

“I feel comfortable saying that it will be the most dramatic and most fun pool in the United States’ history,” he said.

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