Circa, downtown Las Vegas’ first new resort-casino in decades, to grace skyline by 2020

January 11, 2019 5:02 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports
January 11, 2019 5:02 AM
  • Howard Stutz, CDC Gaming Reports

Downtown Las Vegas’ first ground-up resort development since 1980 will be known as Circa Resort and Casino.

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The multimillion-dollar project, being built by D Las Vegas owners Derek Stevens and his brother Greg, will include a sleek-looking 777-room hotel, billed as the largest tower north of the Las Vegas Strip other than the Stratosphere.

Circa is expected to officially begin construction by the end of March and will open in December 2020.

“When we heard the name ‘Circa,’ we kind of knew right away it was the right choice,” Derek Stevens said Thursday following an announcement ceremony at the Downtown Events Center that include Las Vegas city officials and downtown and Las Vegas Strip casino executives.

“Circa symbolizes the past and history of Las Vegas but speaks to the modern amenities we plan to have at the property,” he said.

Circa will cover 1.25 million square feet of integrated resort amenities and occupy an entire downtown city block, which previously housed the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids casino and Girls of Glitter Gulch strip club.

The Stevens brothers, who also own downtown’s Golden Gate casino, said the name Circa celebrates the spirit of Las Vegas and a new era of resort development.

Circa at night

“There is a lot of unmet demand for fun in Las Vegas,” said Derek Stevens. “At Circa, our goal will be to create a destination resort in a historic part of the city.”

Financial figures the privately-held development were not announced. Stevens wouldn’t provide a ballpark figure. He said the project would provide 2,000 construction jobs and 1,500 full-time position.

There has been tremendous anticipation for the project since the Stevens brothers acquired and closed the Las Vegas Club in 2015. They purchased the rest of the site’s land parcels and spent much of 2018 clearing the space along Main Street and Fremont Street for development.

Derek Stevens, known for his outgoing personality love of promotion, announced the name following the conclusion of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s annual State of the City address. A five-minute video, celebrating historic Las Vegas Strip and downtown casino developers, accompanied the announcement of the name Circa to the song, “Believer,” by the band Imagine Dragons, which is from Las Vegas.

Derek Stevens said Circa’s tower was defined by a “bold design with a backlit roofline.” The gaming area will include a two-level casino and multi-level, stadium-style race and sportsbook.  The Stevens brothers announced a partnership with sports gaming media organization VSiN to bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa.

Circa Pool and Amphitheater

The property will include “a range of restaurants” while the resort area will include a spa and an expansive multi-tiered pool amphitheater. The will be multiple pools and a large television screen with the latest high-resolution technology. The amphitheater will offer a watch party atmosphere for sports fans.

Circa will also include the longest outdoor bar along the Fremont Street Experience.

Other features at Circa will include “Garage Mahal,” a state-of-the art parking structure specifically designed for ride-sharing. The nine-story facility will have 1,201 parking spaces and will be centrally located, allowing guests to conveniently and efficiently travel to and from the property.

Circa’s interior will welcome the return of  “Vegas Vickie,” the kicking cowgirl who was once perched high above the Fremont Street Experience. The signage will become a key design feature within the hotel’s lobby.

Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Derek Stevens

On Monday, operators of the Downtown Grand said the resort would add a 495-room hotel tower by 2020, giving the property more 1,000 hotel rooms.

In addition, the Plaza Las Vegas is expanding its footprint after 2021 to include 10 unused acres of the property’s 17-acre site along Main Street. Operators added an outdoor equestrian center to a part of the site that is being used for special events.

Boyd Gaming Corp., which owns three downtown hotel-casinos, received approval from the Las Vegas City Council in November to proceed with a hotel tower expansion at Fremont Hotel and Casino, which now has 447 rooms.

However, a company spokesman said final decisions on moving forward with development haven’t been made.

Downtown Las Vegas has seen signs of rebirth in the last few years.

The tough economic climate ushered in by the Great Recession sent the market spiraling downward from 2008 to 2013. The last four years, however, have seen gaming revenues steadily increase, including 2017’s 11.8 percent surge. Through the first 10 months of 2018, downtown gaming revenues are up a further 1 percent, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The area has suffered and prospered through ebbs and flows. The high point was 1992, when downtown’s 30 reporting locations produced a record $703 million in gaming revenue.

Howard Stutz is the executive editor of CDC Gaming Reports. He can be reached at hstutz@cdcgamingreports.com. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.