D Las Vegas Owner Derek Stevens Has Big Ideas for Downtown Area

Posted on: February 2, 2018, 06:00h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2018, 02:41h.

D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens believes the downtown area is poised for significant continued growth, and is investing heavily in the Fremont Street block.

Derek Stevens D Las Vegas downtown
Derek Stevens has big plans for Fremont Street in 2018. (Image: Black Raven Films)

The casino owner is currently demolishing the Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch, and Mermaids in order to create a block-long resort that he predicts will further attract visitors away from the Strip to the downtown region.

“The significance of that location is hard to overstate, with 20 million people visiting downtown every year,” Stevens said on KUNV 91.5 radio this week. “We have a responsibility not just for downtown, but for all of the community to do something there.”

The project is at the opposite end of the Fremont Street Experience from Stevens’ D Las Vegas casino resort. Opened as the Sundance Hotel and later knowns at Fitzgeralds, Stevens acquired the D in 2012 and spent $22 million in renovations.

Stevens Vision

Derek Stevens is keeping his cards close to his chest in giving away any details as to what the finished resort will look like. He hasn’t said how many rooms the hotel will offer, nor amenity offerings or the total floor space of the casino.

He did, however, explain that it will not be called the Las Vegas Club. “We want something that would be unique to Las Vegas, and I always like to incorporate from the past because of downtown’s history,” Stevens stated.

Stevens’ acquisition of the Las Vegas Club did not include the naming rights. But he owns the rights to “Grandissimo,” a potential candidate name for the casino that become the moniker for Las Vegas visionary Jay Sarno.

Sarno, known as “The First Emperor of Las Vegas,” built Caesars Palace (1966) and Circus Circus (1968), and is credited for conceptualizing the modern casino resort. Stevens has studied Sarno’s business career, and acquired the “Grandissimo” name rights many years ago.

“Grandissimo” was a mega casino resort envisioned by Sarno that never came to reality. “The name, the story, the innovation and creativity of Jay Sarno is so important in the history of Las Vegas,” Stevens explained. But he added that he isn’t set on naming the forthcoming resort “Grandissimo.”

Downtown Up

Nevada casinos saw gaming revenues gain 2.8 percent in 2017, with statewide win totaling more than $11.57 billion. And while the downtown area still represents just a fraction of the total income ($631.25 million), it’s one of the fastest growing gaming markets in the Silver State.

Downtown casino revenue surged nearly 12 percent last year, and maintained its rapid growth over the last three months (up nine percent) despite the October Las Vegas shooting.

During the same 90-day (October-December) period, Strip casinos fell over five percent. And for the year, they posted just a modest 1.3 percent gain. But the main drag remains the biggest revenue generator, with total gaming win coming in at $6.46 billion in 2017.