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October 22, 2014

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Closing of Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas raises concerns of ripple effect

Henderson’s mayor says other businesses at MonteLago Village Resort just getting by

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Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas.

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The Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas.

Lake Las Vegas

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Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas

This week’s announcement that the Ritz-Carlton at Lake Las Vegas is going out of business has raised concerns that the hotel’s closure will have a ripple effect on neighboring merchants.

Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen said he expects shops and restaurants at MonteLago Village Resort will feel the impact of losing the 348-room luxury hotel.

Businesses have told him in the past they are holding their own, but just getting by, he said.

“Certainly we are concerned,” Hafen said of the hotel’s closing. “The biggest concern we have is for the employees and their welfare.”

The Ritz-Carlton, a fixture in the resort community since it opened in February 2003, announced Monday it will close on May 2.

“Our owners, Village Hospitality, decided they could no longer fund the hotel,” Ritz-Carlton spokeswoman Vivian Deuschl said on Monday. “As a result of that, we can no longer operate the hotel without adequate funding.”

A number of shops refused to comment Tuesday about the Ritz-Carlton announcement and referred calls to MonteLago Village manager Maurice Talley.

“We’re very sad that the Ritz-Carlton employees are no longer going to be employed and it may have some residual effect, but it’s too hard to quantify,” Talley said.

Talley said he didn’t know how much of MonteLago Village Resort’s shop and restaurant traffic comes from the Ritz-Carlton.

At least one shop owner, however, said she doesn’t expect the closure of the hotel to have a major impact on her business.

Marianne Freeman, whose home furnishing and accessories shop, Tesoro, has been at Montelago Village since 2003, said most of her customers are people who live at Lake Las Vegas, not hotel guests.

“Certainly the closure will affect my business to some extent, because the Ritz has always brought in visitors from across the county, but it won’t have a huge impact,” Freeman said.

Jennifer Morton, marketing and public relations director for Casino MonteLago, predicted that business for the casino will remain steady without the luxury hotel.

“We have a strong local base, so it’s just going to be business as normal for us,” Morton said.

Hafen said he recently met with the general managers of the Ritz-Carlton and Loews Las Vegas, who told him the properties were struggling but doing what they could to keep their doors open.

The hotel’s closure will leave about 350 employees out of work, but Deuschl said efforts are being made to relocate them to other Ritz-Carltons, Marriotts and other hotels in the Las Vegas Valley.

Hafen said the Ritz-Carlton pays about $129,000 in annual property taxes.

Without the Ritz-Carlton, Loews Lake Las Vegas and the MonteLago Village Resort will be the only hotels in the development.

“I don’t think the residents of Lake Las Vegas will be affected much,” Hafen said. “As far as our tourism in Henderson, it will make a little bit of dent, but it’s one of many properties we have here in the city.”

In addition to the hotels, restaurants, shops and casino, the 3,600-acre Lake Las Vegas development, located 20 miles southeast of the Strip, includes more than 1,600 residential units.

Lake Las Vegas is now in bankruptcy, burdened with $728 million in liabilities amid the worst real estate downturn in memory.

According to Henderson City Attorney Elizabeth Macias Quillin, Lake Las Vegas owes about $25.7 million to the city of Henderson in Local Improvement District financing and assessments. The city has three Local Improvement Districts in the Lake Las Vegas development.

Sun reporter Erin Dostal contributed to this report.

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