Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2010 | 3:09 p.m.
Maybe Zappos really is a world changer -- or at the very least, a downtown Las Vegas changer.
At a news conference today, Andrew Donner, CEO and owner of Resort Gaming Group, said Zappos' announcement last week that it will move into City Hall in 2012 only makes better RGG's plans to renovate, upgrade and overhaul the mothballed Lady Luck casino-hotel.
Indeed, plans for the changes were submitted Tuesday to the city of Las Vegas, said Donner, who sold most of his interest in the Lady Luck property to developer CIM in 2007.
It will sport a new swimming pool, new restaurants and shops, a radically different appearance, changes to existing taverns on Third Street, and the likelihood of a major hotelier to become part operator. He said he expects the property to reopen in the third or fourth quarter of 2012.
"There's been some bumps in the road and some delays and I think that a lot of Las Vegas (development) sprints, and this is more of a ... marathon," he said of the Lady Luck/Third Street redevelopment. After envisioning the changes 10 years ago, he added, "here we are bringing that vision to reality."
Before he spoke in what was once the Celebrity, a concert venue at Third and Ogden that never really took off, Mayor Oscar Goodman was sounding like he did three years ago when he told the Sun that these were "exciting times" to be involved in the city.
"As a result of the announcement ... a buzz has been created unlike any that I've ever experienced ... as the mayor," he said.
As Donner spoke, Goodman also acknowledged that since the Zappos announcement -- the online shoe retailer will lease City Hall from RGG -- the city has been fielding numerous calls from businesses expressing interest in the downtown area.
Asked where the financing, which Donner said would be more than $100 million, is coming from, he said CIM has the ability to fund the development on its own. But plans are to finance a small part of the project through debt.