Las Vegas Sun

November 20, 2014

economy:

Plaza to lay off 400 workers, temporarily close hotel

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Justin M. Bowen / File photo

The Fremont Street Experience and Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas are shown.

Updated Monday, Sept. 13, 2010 | 10:23 a.m.

RELATED STORY: With Plaza implosion out, Goodman seeking ‘gateway’ to Symphony Park

Map of Plaza Hotel and Casino

Plaza Hotel and Casino

1 Main Street, Las Vegas

More than 400 employees of the Plaza Hotel & Casino face layoffs in the next 60 days as the downtown Las Vegas property closes its 1,037-room hotel and portions of its casino in early November.

While the company says the hotel closure will be followed by planned renovations of all guestrooms and hallways, it appears the closure is also associated with the recession that has hurt the Las Vegas gaming industry -- with downtown taking an especially brutal hit.

The Plaza will be "minimizing operations'' on Nov. 11, property manager Bobby Ray Harris told employees in a memo last week.

"I have suggested and been convinced for many months that an on-going 'Band-Aid' approach will not significantly change the operating results and that only substantial improvements to the property can make it successful in the long run,'' the memo said. "The economy, coupled with the need for a significant capital infusion into the property, has affected the Plaza's ability to remain competitive in the industry.''

Harris, the president and chief operating officer of PlayLV, manager of the Plaza and its sister properties, is due to leave as manager of the properties next month, when Anthony F. Santo takes over.

Santo, who will also run the Plaza's sister downtown properties the Las Vegas Club Hotel & Casino and the Western Hotel & Casino, told Nevada gaming regulators last month the properties are losing money but negotiations were under way for a $20 million loan to refurbish the Plaza.

Santo also said last month there would be "12 months of hard times" while construction work is under way at the Plaza, to be renamed Union Plaza.

Downtown Las Vegas casino revenue fell in July for the 26th consecutive month, the state Gaming Control Board reported last week. It said the July year-over-year decline was 19.2 percent, to $32.1 million.

That compared to a statewide decline of 4.9 percent.

But the July 2010 and July 2009 numbers tell only part of the story. Downtown gaming win in July 2009 had already fallen 11.6 percent from $45 million in July 2008.

And the Plaza isn't the only downtown property to be suffering from the double whammy of the recession and growth in the Las Vegas hotel room inventory, including a new 500-room tower at the downtown Golden Nugget that opened in November.

Late last year, Binion's shut its 365-room downtown hotel, citing the economic downturn.

In a statement today confirming the planned layoffs, the Plaza's parent company hinted that economic realities are driving the plan to shut down the entire hotel as opposed to closing just individual floors for renovations.

"Tamares Real Estate will be investing a substantial amount of money into its Plaza Hotel & Casino, including renovating all 1,037 guestrooms and hallways, new restaurant and bar concepts and upgrading the casino floor. These improvements are expected to take up to 12 months to complete," Kenneth Landfield, chief operating officer of Plaza owner Tamares U.S. Real Estate, said in a statement today. "The Plaza has been experiencing the same kind of operational difficulties as other casino hotels and many other businesses in Las Vegas. Despite the most difficult economic conditions in recent memory, however, we are extremely excited about the future of downtown Las Vegas and are committed to working through this process to the benefit of our employees, our customers and the city of Las Vegas."

"In accordance with employment laws, our tenant, Plaza Hotel & Casino, LLC, has issued notices to more than 400 employees explaining that their employment could be terminated within 60 days," Landfield said. "This action is necessary for us to reorganize and renovate the Plaza over the next year, during which time we will be closing portions of the casino and all hotel rooms. We anticipate that some employees will be retained to continue various operations, including, among other things, slot machines in the casino, the Firefly restaurant, ‘The Rat Pack is Back’ show and the food court."

The Las Vegas Club Hotel & Casino and the Western Hotel & Casino aren't affected by the announcement.

"In fact, we anticipate that many employees from the Plaza will be offered jobs at the Las Vegas Club, which during this renovation period will be handling future room reservations, bingo and some other amenities formerly housed at the Plaza," Landfield said in the statement.

Tamares Real Estate is part of the Tamares Group, a privately owned international investment company.

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  1. Thanks Harry!!!

  2. Hmmm...I guess the Plaza's owners didn't give any tribute to Harry's re-election campaign. So they get no phone calls to Harry's money men, J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs (also Harry campaign contributors).

  3. gpigs...
    when will YOU "get out while you can"?
    Please.
    Your tired, pathetically Neo-Nut ranting is annoying the crap out of us sane people, and we're a dwindling breed.
    Who's payin' your freight? Surely you don't annoy us daily for kicks and giggles, do ya?

    How about a nice big cup of shut the hell up???
    It's on the house!

  4. @Sunnysideup;

    "The damage had already been done by January 2007, after six years of 100% GOP control. It took less than a year for the dam to finally buckle. But of course, you don't see it this way, because you're in denial of the utter failure and disgrace your little party left the country in."

    That paragraph should be stuck to the forehead of all the NutJobs who keep up their retarded ranting about Obama/Reid/Pelosi.

    Revising history has become an ART FORM for these jokers.

  5. Comment removed by moderator. Off topic.

  6. This is really sad, but I think long overdue for the Plaza. I sincerely hope they do this renovation and re-open, unlike what happened with the Lady Luck.

    This is like trying to catch a falling knife. A very dangerous proposition to say the least.

    I can't see how with the current administration anything will change. Where are the incentives for business? That's right, there aren't any. Print more money, bail out those who took on too much debt while penalizing the guy who does pay their bills on time, all the time. Where's the incentive or tax break or *any* kind of break for that guy???? Anyone know the answer to that????

    Go red in 2012!

  7. My family and I are very sentimental about the Plaza Hotel. Before we retired and moved to Las Vegas, we stayed there many times with our kids (aged 6 to 14) and always had a room with a Strip view. The rooms were large and were not dumpy. My kids loved Fremont Street at night, with the light show and the bands. We had a great time at a price we could afford.

    Just last month, we had a teenaged nephew visit from out of town. We took him to see a band and the light show on Fremont Street, and he liked it far more than the Strip casinos where there was little for him to do. We ate in a Plaza restaurant and it was affordable and satisfactory.

    As a result, I wish the owners and operators of the Plaza the best of luck. From a real estate investment perspective, now IS the time to close and renovate, if they have the money to do it. An internal renovation of the Plaza will strengthen Fremont Street and its casinos as revenue generators for the City of Las Vegas.

    As to the employees losing their jobs, of course I am sad for them.

    However, the reality is that because of the drop in room rates in the Strip casinos, whatever overnight tourist flow exists is going to go to the more glamorous hotels. As a result, the more run down hotels will suffer a severe loss of revenue. That is a sad fact of life.

    The real issue for hotel/casino employment in Las Vegas is the very important question about immigration status. With 15% of Clark County's citizen-residents unemployed, I am very, very sick of going to casino restaurants and being served by people who can barely speak English. As a result, when the Plaza reopens, I hope they will make it a priority to hire American citizens as employees. If nothing else, it would be a positive advertising hook.

  8. Cynical..: Having employee's speak and understand proper English is a major problem in all casino/restaurants. Fremont and the strip. It shows you they get hired strictly from an application and 'maybe' a 1 minute HR interview - no real interview process, its a shame because it reflects badly on the establishment.

    The reason that company's hire these types of people is because they are loyal and never complain. They'll take the cheap pay for life.

    I refuse to tip anything to anyone who either (a) can't understand my order after the 3rd time, (b) screws up my order because of communication, or (c) is simply rude and unhappy.

  9. For the $25 they charged it probably wasn't bad.

    The baggy polyester pants and suspender crowd that used to hang out there when kdumb radio was there probably brought a few people in. With the big signal kdumb had and 24/7 info/talk ...people from the western states would drop in or stay.

    Now Beasley Broadcasting bought the station and wasted money on a new studio, but really doesn't have much better ratings than they had, certainly not ratings equal to the money they blew. Remember they were going to be the Vegas News Station? With the largest News Team? blah blah...

    And the Plaza hot shot buyers were going to kick the anti-immigration kdumb crowd out and cater to the "Hispanic market?"

    Even if they fix the place up, no one will show up. Mayor's right, should be imploded...

    I wonder how safe the parking garage is, plus that rail track...remember the run away toxic tank car???

  10. @lobo69;

    "Do not feed the troll."

    BEST advice of the day.
    He's always chumming, and we oughta try to leave the stinking bait lie.

  11. Downtown Casino Center was a really cool place to be until Jan Jones built that ugly looking bird cage thing over the top of it. Place has never been the same since

  12. I was going to visit the plaza, wait that doesn't read right. I was planning a trip to las vegas this year later this month on account of not visiting the last three years and had planned on staying at the Plaza because we had stayed there before because my wife being disabled it was easier for her to go from one place to another in a short distance. How ever we elected to pay down our consumer debt until next year when we would be spending disposable income I think I am not the only one doing this so I believe this is part of the problem with the economy.
    Now the closing will increase some revenue for the other hotels that are still there. How about the four queens are they still open the last I heard they were having landlord tenant issues just wondering.
    I think that I know that most business's file taxes they always put 5 to 8% into a so called future capitalization fund which does not get taxed Where did the fund go if it didn't go toward capitalization then some one owes some back taxes right.
    I do hope the Plaza can remodel and reopen with the least amount of debt, Less debt means they can offer more to get more with out being over encumbered.

  13. Obama, Reid, Pelosi fix for the Las Vegas economy and the ailing Plaza Is bigger government and higher taxes.

    Vote these idiots out!!

  14. The_Next_Opinion, this was most definitely the location of the original Las Vegas train station.

    We used to go over there in the middle fifties and pick up our cousins and friends visiting from Los Angeles.

    It was just a minimal and spare whistle stop, but that was definitely the place.

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