Newspaper Articles from different sources
Clarion, the former Debbie Reynolds hotel, to close Labor Day Weekend
By John Katsilometes (contact) John Katsilometes
Published Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 | 6:20 p.m.
Updated Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 | 7:38 p.m.
The hotel opened by film legend Debbie Reynolds on Convention Center Drive seems to be fading to black.
The Clarion Hotel Casino has reportedly announced internally that it is shutting down operations effective Monday morning. A spokesman for the hotel said tonight that the hotel was expected to close, but did not know of the timeframe for when that would happen. The hotel website is not booking rooms after Sunday night, and an employee answering the phone declined to say whether the hotel would accept reservations past Monday.
The online publication Las Vegas Advisor, under the navigation of Anthony Curtis (who is typically on the mark about such matters), also posted today that the staff was informed a month ago that the hotel would be closing and was eventually to be torn down or imploded.
The Clarion opened as the Royal Inn in 1970, owned by the Royal Inns resort company. Michael Gaughan and business partner Frank Toti took over ownership two years later before selling to fast-food and automat operators Horn & Hardat. In 1980, the hotel-casino’s name was changed to Royal Americana but was closed by 1982.
Under new ownership, the hotel was reopened as the ill-fated Paddlewheel (which is still the punch line of a Brad Garrett joke about Las Vegas), which catered to families who were looking for an option other than Circus Circus, and was purchased by Reynolds in 1992.
Under her direction, the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel served as an ode to great films and movie legends featuring much of her extensive memorabilia collection. But Reynolds struggled to fund the project, which led to state gaming regulators to refuse to grant her a gaming license at the hotel.
Reynolds wound up filing for bankruptcy in 1997 and selling the property at auction a year later to the World Wrestling Federation. That organization held ownership for a year, but plans for a full-scale wrestling venue were scuttled because the building was deemed too small. The WWF then sold to a group that renamed the hotel yet again, to Greek Isles.
The hotel fell into foreclosure in 2009 and then fell into the hands of the resort’s creditors in a partnership with the Clarion hotel chain. The company’s Las Vegas outpost has since been doing business as the only Clarion in the country to offer gaming.
The Clarion has 200 guest rooms on a 6-acre parcel. Its showroom, Wolf Theater, is known by entertainers in Las Vegas as one of the underrated venues in the city. The problem was not with the room or quality of performances but the absence of customers.
By John Katsilometes (contact) John Katsilometes
Published Monday, Oct. 13, 2014 | 6 p.m.
Updated Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014 | 10:40 a.m.
Clarion Liquidation Sale
Irons available for purchase at a liquidation sale in the Clarion on Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014, in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »
You might think imploding a Las Vegas resort is not child’s play. But in the Doumani family, it is.
At 12:01 a.m. Jan. 13, young Dylan Doumani is to drop the plunger to bring down the one-time Clarion and Debbie Reynolds Hotel and set off an overnight party to be co-hosted by neighboring Piero’s Italian Restaurant.
It all sounds like something out of a Disney movie, really, and it is appropriate that Dylan spent his 7th birthday (which was Saturday) at Disneyland in Anaheim.
As it is, his father, Lorenzo, is looking to make the ratty Clarion the happiest place on earth, or at least on Convention Center Drive. Doumani bought the property in October for $22.5 million. The Clarion closed for good on Labor Day, and put most of its inventory up for sale through the month of September.
Doumani is now the sole owner of that property, paying cash for the old building that opened as the Royal Inn in 1980 and that was owned by Reynolds in the 1990s before tumbling into bankruptcy.
Eager for the neighborhood to develop around him over the next few years, Doumani’s immediate plans are at once destructive and lofty.
“We’re blowing it up,” Doumani said during an interview last week at Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar in Town Square. “And then we’re going to make it something mega, unlike anything you’ve seen in Las Vegas.”
This will not be a massive mall, nor a locals casino. It won’t offer any gaming at all, actually.
“It’s nongaming, and it’ll be some kind of mixed-use property,” Doumani says. “It is going to be very cool, trust me.”
The cost is anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion, with Doumani relying upon a cash stream from Congress’s EB-5 program, which allows international investors to gain citizenship in exchange for investment in U.S. real estate projects.
“I’ll be able to fund the project cost,” Doumani says confidently. “I’m in a unique position to raise money, and I’ve been very fortunate and have done really well in my career.”
In the end, the project will reflect Doumani’s brimming-with-magnanimity disposition and ample wealth.
“My board of directors is me and my split personality,” the 51-year-old Doumani said grinning while sipping a colorful cocktail. “Making this deal was easy. I had no financing. It was a cash deal.”
Doumani has a throwback way of doing business. He is an Old Vegas personality, for sure.
“Las Vegas has become too corporate,” he asserts, not surprisingly. “The city has lost its personality. I want a place that has big personality and style, great amenities. … We’ll have six restaurants and great, unique entertainment.”
Doumani says that if he secures approval from the FAA and Clark County commissioners, his tower “will be looking down on the Wynn. It’ll be 20 feet taller, and it will have a novel design.” He jokes, or maybe not, of re-creating the famous TV commercial where Wynn was set atop his own hotel via helicopter.
Certainly, if these grand designs are fully realized, the new hotel will be towering, in its stature and provenance. The Doumanis are a family long famous in Las Vegas. Lorenzo’s uncle Fred was known as “The Landlord” at the Tropicana in the 1970s, and the family also owned La Concha on the Strip (Lorenzo’s father, Ed, was the original owner). Lorenzo Doumani helped arrange for the delivery of the famed building to the Neon Museum, where it serves as that attraction’s lobby.
Doumani also is the landlord of the property on which the Peppermill sits. In 2007, when he was head of Majestic Resorts, he executed a sale of the 5.4 acres between Peppermill and Riviera on the Strip to Triple Five for $180 million, or $33 million an acre (Triple Five is now attempting to sell that land for about half that price, $16 million an acre).
Doumani is not yet ready to specify what is in store on Convention Center Drive. The anticipated expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center to the east and Genting Group’s Vegas Resorts World of Las Vegas on the Strip to the west will create a natural tourist corridor for this new hotel.
“We’re timing our opening to coincide with the Convention Center and Resorts World,” Doumani says. “I feel within three years of the implosion, we’ll be open, which would be by December 2017.”
What to call this resort? Doumani owes to the obvious.
“I like the Doumani, or Doumani’s,” he says, smiling. “It’s a possible name, maybe.”
If nothing else, it is the front-runner. Check in after the implosion.
Lorenzo Doumani takes over Clarion Were blowing it up creating something very cool
Clarion hotel holds massive liquidation sale
LAS VEGAS -- Everything must go! That's the sentiment from the owners of the Clarion Hotel and Casino. For the next 30 days the latest hotel to say bye-bye to the Las Vegas strip is having a huge liquidation sale.
The establishment on Convention Center drive closed its doors to business in early September, but it opened Thursday to for what will amount to a big month-long garage sale.
Roberto Cortez hauled off a refrigerator, ice machine and housekeeping carts at bargain prices for his banquet facilities.
“We're saving more than 60 percent," Cortez said.
Just name it, and any shopper can find just what they're looking for. There are beds, irons, clocks, chairs, TVs and even towels.
The most unique items for sale include a set of doors and door handles that were actually purchased by Debbie Reynolds during the liquidation of the dunes back in March of 1993. She liked it because they not only stood for the dunes, but for Debbie. Those doors were quickly sold for $1,100.
The Clarion was never as big, or as legendary, as its neighbors on the strip. The hotel opened in 1970 as a Royal Inn, and was transformed to the Paddlewheel back in 1983. As the Paddlewheel it was more kid-friendly.
However, the arcades didn't last long because Hollywood legend, Debbie Reynolds gave Channel 8 a personal tour when she transformed the property in the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Hotel 21 years ago.
"This is Humphrey Bogart's bar. I call it ‘Bogie's Bar.' I think everybody still has a romance with Bogart," said Debbie Reynolds in a KLAS interview back on July 29, 1993.
The resort was her dream come true, a tribute to the golden era of Hollywood. There were even slot machines that featured the legend.Three Debbie's on the slots meant you hit a jackpot! But by 1997, the hotel went bankrupt.
If you'd like to check out what's being sold, the address is 305 Convention Center Dr. in Las Vegas. The sale is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday thru Saturday and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.