Are Frontier’s days numbered?

Mar 22, 2005 1:21 AM

With owner Phil Ruffin’s right-hand man Jack Wishna confirming to a fellow columnist that he’s in "performance conversations" with mega stars, look for the implosion of the Frontier Hotel sooner than you might think, probably in the next 60-90 days. Replacing it will be a 3,000 room-plus, $1 billion-plus resort. Supporting the new venture will be Donald Trump’s twin tower non-gaming property that should break ground within 30 days and will be built right behind the present Frontier Hotel.

Both will be across the street from Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, Steve Wynn’s second luxury mega-resort and casino, plans for which were just announced. Encore, with only 2,300 rooms, is intended to be the ultimate venue in town. Construction is expected to begin this summer with completion in 2008.

We finally became a major league city, not on the baseball field or basketball court, but in the prestigious world of performing arts when the Las Vegas Performing Arts Center (PAC) Foundation received a $50 million denotation from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. It is the largest single philanthropic contribution made in the history of the state of Nevada. In recognition of the donation, the eventual performing arts complex has been named the Fred W. and Mary B. Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Smith is the current chairman of the Reynolds Foundation and retired as president and CEO of Reynolds’ Donrey Media Group, where he worked for 43 years. The Smith’s also personally donated $1 million to the project.

The Smith Performing Arts Center will be built downtown and is envisioned as the centerpiece of the development of 61 acres. Hopefully, it will be ready for the 2008-2009 Performing Arts season, said PAC Foundation President Myron Martin, who has given more than 10 years of his life to reach this point. The PAC will be the largest arts project in Nevada history and will be the ultimate public/private partnership. It will not only create new jobs, but will help to attract new business to the Las Vegas area by providing an important cultural infrastructure for our city.

An indication of its importance is evidenced by its board that includes executives from Boyd Gaming, Harrah’s and MGM Mirage. Rarely, if ever, do you see the casinos working together on behalf of a single cause. Lord knows, I’ve tried to have them work together on projects for your adoring GamingToday columnist.

After being treated to a great dinner, yes, I have my priorities straight, I went to see Greg Thompson’s new Rio show entitled, "Erocktica." Well, it wasn’t erocktica or erotica. It was plain neurotica. It’s supposed to be a rock n’ roll sexy show; it’s not. It’s just T&A with blasting rock music in a venue with no intimacy. But, dinner was terrific. Maybe the problem is that the Rio honchos just don’t realize when enough is enough. There are so many shows at the hotel, "Erocktica" isn’t even on any of its front marquees.

Just The Facts: Billy Joel’s $328-a-ticket Hard Rock date March 26 has been shelved due to the singer/songwriter checking himself into rehab for treatment of alcohol abuse”¦The RJ’s Mercury staff isn’t very pleased that it’s been "merged into" City Life”¦Lied Animal Shelter’s new support group, Paws 4 the Cause, is holding a shindig at the Palms’ Real World Suite for $100 a person. Call 384-333 ext. 21 for info”¦What magazine publisher keeps going "mano y mano" with a top local PR firm because he’s not on its invite list? ... Beacher’s Madhouse, possibly the city’s craziest weekly bash, is on hiatus until June 4”¦Is Wayne Newton’s March 28-April 20 Stardust engagement his final one at the property? And, is the marquee and theater at the Stardust with his name on it being removed after it? ... Robin Leach’s partnership in Channel 35 has fizzled, but look for an announcement soon from him for a new TV venture”¦Stevie Wonder and Counting Crows are signed to headline Tiger Jam VIII May 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center”¦Don’t be surprised by the time you’re reading this, Las Vegas entrant Mikalah Gordon has been voted off American Idol”¦We wrote weeks ago that despite Steve Wynn dropping the name "Le Reve" from his hotel, the Franco Dragone show would maintain the name. It has and it’s called "Le Reve — A Small Collection of Imperfect Dreams"”¦ Summer is a way off, but April 9 is sure to be a hot night when Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria hosts the grand opening of the Pussycat Dolls Lounge at Caesars Palace. A red carpet packed with former Dolls and the Dolls’ celebrity friends is anticipated to open the first permanent home of the famous song and dance group.