by Calanit Atia, Renderings by Steelman Partners
Circa Resort & Casino, offering 777 rooms, suites, casino and spa, is the planned all-new integrated resort concept located in the heart of downtown Las Vegas. Developers Derek and Greg Stevens are building the first ground-up resort development in the area since 1980. Circa will be built on a 1.25-million-sq.ft. property at the corner of Fremont and Main streets.
Exhibit City News had the chance to sit down with chief executive officer of the D Las Vegas and Circa, Derek Stevens (pictured right), to get a behind-the-scenes look at his journey.
ECN: Had you ever envisioned buying an entire city block in downtown Las Vegas to create Circa?
Stevens: No, I did not, because the likelihood was preposterous.
ECN: How did it all start?
Stevens: When we purchased the Las Vegas Club, initially we began the process of examining the actual building structure, because we were trying to evaluate whether we should renovate this building or demolish it. We thought initially that renovation is more likely, but there were a few things that ended up happening. While we were studying and X-raying the building, something came out I did not like–I was not happy with the heights of each floor–so then we really struggled with our decision. We knew we were going to add another tower, but how do we add another tower and have the floors match up appropriately; we struggled with that.
We had a discussion with the owner of Mermaids, Bayou and The Glitter Glutch office building and parking structure. While we were doing all the work on the Las Vegas Club, we struck up this relationship with Steve Bernstein, and for him, it was the right moment in time to sell. That was amazing because those businesses have been in his family for his entire life so we really never thought about acquiring them. Once I saw we could get this deal to happen, I stopped everything. After a few months of negotiations, we got the deal done. We started evaluating what it is going to take to demolish the Vegas Club and other buildings and focused on that.
The last hurdle to overcome was a T-shirt shop in the middle of the property. We thought they would never sell and we started thinking about what it is going to be like building something like a horseshoe shape similar to what had to happen with the Cosmopolitan and the Jockey Club.
The amazing part is that he would never have thought of selling the shop, but he had another deal going on at the exact same time buying the World’s Largest Gift Shop on the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. The timing was just perfect–all the stars aligned. We purchased the Las Vegas Club in August 2015 and accumulated all of the properties by the end of 2017 with a little more than two years putting this deal together.
ECN: Who is your target market?
Stevens: Locals as well as tourists since Fremont Street attracts more than 24 million visitors and we will have a lot of walk-in traffic. Also, with the expansion of the World Market, we will definitely see a boost since it is much easier to stay downtown. We plan to have shuttles during the weeks of Market.
ECN: What about the design of Circa?
Stevens: The property’s design will respect Vegas’ history and being located downtown gives it the ability to be authentic. Event planners will love the pool area. It will be more than just a pool; it will be an unbelievable corporate event space for events and product launches. Most venues have limited size and weight capacity for large product launches. We have designed very specific freight elevators that can easily handle an Escalade car, John Deere tractor and large products. We worked with the LVCVA and they helped with their advice.
According to Stevens, in the spirit of staying true to the city, Circa will deliver a new experience built on the original principles of old-school Vegas hospitality. It will mix the glamour of vintage Vegas with modern luxuries and cutting-edge technology, honoring the golden age of the city.
The resort will be defined by a bold design, accented by a backlit roofline and an expansive multi-tiered pool amphitheater. The amphitheater will offer a unique watch-party atmosphere for sun seekers and sports fans. Another signature element will be a multi-level, stadium-style sportsbook, equipped with the biggest screen in sportsbook history featuring several pools and a massive display with the latest high-resolution technology.
Circa will also be home to a state-of-the-art parking structure playfully dubbed “Garage Mahal,” specifically designed with ride-sharing in mind. Catering to the growing use of Uber and Lyft, and housing 1,201 parking spaces, the centrally located nine-story garage will be the first of its kind in downtown Las Vegas.
Circa’s interior will include the famous Vegas Vickie, the kicking cowgirl, which was part of the Glitter Glutch. She was a feature of downtown for decades and will be a signature piece inside the property as a “great Instagram photo op for people,” says Stevens.
Circa will definitely change the face of downtown.
For more info, visit Circalasvegas.com and to see more of the interview with Derek Stevens online and the Circa Reveal, visit www.YouTube.com/CalanitAtia. Calanit Atia is the founder and president of A to Z Events and Trade Show Entertainment, an award-winning event planner, social media maven, columnist, Air Force veteran and speaker. She can be contacted at 702-212-2500, by email Info@AtoZevents.com, or visit www.AtoZevnets.com.
This story originally appeared in the March/April issue of Exhibit City News, p. 78-79. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_flipbook_marchapril2019?e=16962537/67925242