Many casinos are renovating rather than imploding. Is this the future of Las Vegas redevelopment?

What kind of moron wants to fix up a used casino? Actually, a lot of smart folks do lately (coming soon: SLS Las Vegas, once the Sahara), and did so in the past. Revamping tired casinos is an age-old practice (check the mashed-up mess that is the Riviera to see what sometimes passes muster), one that fell into disfavor with Steve Wynn’s dramatic 1993 collapse of the Dunes. Fifteen more demolitions followed, including last week’s downing of the O’Sheas garage.

Why implode? Dragging an old decorated shed into 21st century Vegas is no easy task (ask any downtown dreamer who runs up against city code). But this is business, so expect bosses to favor demolition whenever the cost-benefit analysis suggests it. But for now, cost-benefit is on the side of the fixer-uppers.

Why did the Las Vegas Review-Journal just discover that people live in Las Vegas?

Ah, you must be referencing the R-J’s “New Normal” feature (April 29) that said, “Post-boom Las Vegas is a place to have a career and raise a family, even if you have nothing to do with gaming. And as people stay, they’re remaking Sin City, joining clubs, starting businesses …” Good Frank Almighty, such bright-eyed, bushy-tailed excitement! Coming from a family that includes engineers, artists, convalescent nurses, state employees, homemakers, teachers and a past president of the Lions Club—but not a single casino worker—I must have been living somewhere else all these decades.

Restaurant survivors, revisited

People wrote/Tweeted/accosted me at First Friday to remind me of spots I overlooked in my (non-inclusive) list of Vegas restaurants open at least 25 years. Some additions: Michael’s (1979; the last of the classic continental joints, which jumped from the Barbary Coast to South Point with Michael Gaughan); Metro Pizza (1980; now a local mini-chain), Farm Basket (1973, the nation’s first drive-thru chicken joint), Gyro Time (1978; its original West Charleston Boulevard location surviving the loss of the nearby Red Rock Theaters and Big Dipper Ice Cream); and the Old Vegas haunt Piero’s (1982, where scenes from Casino were filmed, and may, or may not, have taken place in real life).

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Justin Hawkins' lofty goal of graduating from UNLV in three years will be met this weekend

UNLV Basketball

Justin Hawkins' lofty goal of graduating from UNLV in three years will be met this weekend

"Jimmy Neutron" and "Boy Genius" aren't the typical nicknames you'd associate with a Division-I basketball team's top reserve and defensive stopper. UNLV senior-to-be Justin Hawkins has gotten pretty used to both. Since arriving on campus, there have been plenty of times in which the Los Angeles native has had to say no to his teammates. No to going out. No to hanging out with the group for an XBox or Playstation marathon. This weekend, it all pays off, as the Rebels invaluable glue guy will graduate from UNLV. In three years.



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