LAS VEGAS - The New Frontier casino-hotel was imploded early Tuesday, giving a violent end to the second property to open on the Las Vegas Strip.
The 16-story hotel tower was felled with more than 1,000 pounds of explosives before a group of reporters and bystanders to make way for a multibillion-dollar resort bearing the Plaza brand, set to open in 2011.
Elad Group owner and Israeli billionaire Yitzhak Tshuva, who is partnering to build an $8 billion resort where the New Frontier stood, shook hands and gave hugs after the tower went down.
An easterly breeze helped to quickly dissipate the dust.
The New Frontier earned historical notations by becoming the Strip’s first theme casino and hosting Elvis Presley’s debut in the city.
The low-key gambling hall, which opened as the Last Frontier in 1942 with a cowboy village theme and later embraced the Space Age before returning to its Wild West roots, had become known for bikini bull riding, cheap hotel rooms and $5 craps before it closed its doors for good in July.
IDB Group and Elad Group, the owner of the Plaza hotel in New York, said the new property will include a luxury hotel with about 3,500 rooms, private residences, retail space and a casino bearing the Plaza brand, all set to reach for the highest end of the market.
“Let me promise to all of you today that we will build in this beautiful city one of the most magnificent hotels in the world,” Tshuva told a gathering ahead of the implosion. “I think that there should be no price tag for a place with such enormous potential.”
The destruction of the New Frontier was the latest step in a dramatic and expensive face-lift for the northern Strip. The Stardust hotel-casino was imploded in March.
“It’s another budget option on the Strip that’s gone,” said David Schwartz, director of the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. “The future is really high-end.”
Billionaire Steve Wynn said recently that he had noticed fewer 25-cent slot players wandering into his lavish Wynn Las Vegas resort.
“That’s because the Frontier and the Stardust are closed,” he said.
The first of Donald Trump’s gold-glass, billion-dollar-plus condominium towers is set to open behind the New Frontier site early next year.