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May 3, 2015

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Joe Downtown: Downtown Project adds Gold Spike to its property holdings; casino to close Sunday


Steve Marcus

Joe Carrera, left, and Brandon Edmon of San Pedro, Calif. play Texas Hold’em with an animated dealer in the Gold Spike’s remodeled casino floor in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Aug. 17, 2009.

Gold Spike

A view of the Gold Spike hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas Monday, Aug. 17, 2009. The Siegel Group has been renovating the hotel as well as the nearby Travel Inn. Launch slideshow »

Siegel Group's Rumor and Gold Spike

An exclusive tour of The Siegel Group's Rumor and Gold Spike photographed by Tom Donoghue. Michael Crandall, director of business development, and CEO Stephen Siegel are pictured here at Rumor. Launch slideshow »

Map of The Gold Spike

The Gold Spike

217 N. Las Vegas Boulevard, Las Vegas

The Gold Spike hotel/casino will reopen again but its casino days are over.

It might not even be named the Gold Spike.

The Siegel Group Nevada Inc. announced Thursday the sale of the property to Downtown Project investors, who already held the note to the property. Terms were not disclosed.

Stephen Siegel, Siegel Group president and CEO, said he expected to absorb about 60 percent of the hotel/casino employees; others will get the chance to interview with Downtown Project.

The casino portion of the property will close its doors at 3 p.m. Sunday; the hotel had earlier stopped taking reservations past this weekend.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, one of the investors purchasing the Gold Spike, confirmed Thursday he would not be going into the casino business.

Asked what kind of person gives up a casino, a business known traditionally as an almost sure-fire moneymaker, Hsieh replied: “People who are trying to help build a community.”

He didn’t reveal specific plans for the property, but sources say several ideas for the Gold Spike were being tossed around, including using some or all of the hotel rooms to house Downtown Project visitors, creating a club and/or boutique hotel and specialty retail space.

Siegel said Downtown Project was expected to announce redevelopment plans later this year.

In a news release, Siegel Group said it purchased the property, which includes 112 Gold Spike rooms plus 58 rooms in the adjacent Travel Inn Motel in 2008. Siegel was one of the first investors in the redevelopment of the eastern portion of Fremont Street. After buying the place, he gutted rooms and refurbished the entire structure, the release said, turning it into “a hip boutique hotel-casino that sought to attract a younger demographic that the company believed would eventually migrate to the area.”

The migration didn’t happen right away, however, as the recession took hold that year. With the ongoing investment of Hsieh and partners in downtown, that migration has only just begun.

"We saw early on the redevelopment potential that Downtown Las Vegas had to offer and are proud to have been an integral part of transforming this great area,” Siegel said. “We will remain active in the downtown market, where we have a number of other holdings and intend to continue investing in the area with other projects we will be announcing in the near future."

Siegel said he also kept the legal right to the name “Gold Spike.”

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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  1. "Asked what kind of person gives up a casino, a business known traditionally as an almost sure-fire moneymaker, Hsieh replied: "People who are trying to help build a community."

    Well, there it is: The first openly anti-Las Vegas comment from Mr. Hsieh.

    Many wondered what would happen to the gaming license at the Western Casino when the Downtown Project purchased it; the answer seems rather clear now. How will this comment be spun when its implications become clear? How will scrutiny of other investments reveal their commitment to community .. or lack therof?

  2. That is one way to look at it Mr. Reza but personally I don't see it as anti Las Vegas.

    That property was not making it as a casino or it would still be one.

    By him closing that one those that did go there will go on down the street to other casinos. More business for them. More jobs for those down the street to provide for those customers.

    Experienced gaming folks were not able to make money with those two properties so maybe it is time for them to be something else.

    Will be interesting to see what he does with the property.

    I just don't start looking for devils until I see more proof they are here. :-)

  3. I have fond memories of the Gold Spike since I used to stay there frequently when it was owned by the Gaughan family and they offered 3 nights free as part of their "Four Seasons Program". Often I would avail myself of 3 free nights at the El Cortez and then move over to the Gold Spike for 3 more freebies, paying for just one night during my week-long vacations in Las Vegas. The slots at the Gold Spike were quite loose and I still remember vividly several of my better jackpots, each of which also scored free meals at the rather scary Gold Spike Diner.
    Once I remarried, staying at the Gold Spike was curtailed since it was, without meaning to be too disrespectful, the opposite of upscale.
    Once the casino was sold by the Gaughan family, the new owners made a serious miscalculation, and their slot machines were set in a most odd way, in that you couldn't cash out without requiring an attendant to hand-pay, which resulted in delays and frustration. As a result, I stopped gambling there altogether.
    It seems to me that the new use being planned for the Gold Spike is a vast improvement and will indeed improve the downtown area. Hopefully the Lady Luck will be nicely renovated as well in the near future.
    Thank you, Gold Spike, for the great memories. You will forever remain a significant part of my great love for downtown Las Vegas.

    Donald W. Desaulniers

  4. "That is one way to look at it Mr. Reza but personally I don't see it as anti Las Vegas.

    That property was not making it as a casino or it would still be one."

    It is not the closing of the Gold Spike casino, in and of itself, that can be interpreted as anti-Las Vegas. Rather, it is the implication that there is a distinction between those who operate gambling facilities and those who "build communities."