Changes set for downtown

Dec 20, 2005 3:13 AM

There are a few changes in the works for downtown casinos.

First, the Lady Luck announced it will close on Feb. 12 in order to complete a year-long remodeling project.

The action will cease operations in the casino and hotel, but five restaurants and clubs along Third Street will remain open, as will the property’s parking garage.

The Lady Luck’s owner, the Henry Brent Company, which purchased the hotel-casino last April, did not indicate what remodeling and/or expansion is planned.

The closure caused the lay off of about 680 Lady Luck workers.

Also downtown, veteran gaming executive Larry Woolf is staying very busy on a couple of fronts — from Las Vegas to the Straits of Taiwan.

Wolf’s Navegante Group is preparing to take over operation of the former Barrick Gaming properties downtown on behalf of former Barrick partner the Tamares Group. These properties include the Plaza, Las Vegas Club, Gold Spike and Western hotels, and a lot of real estate.

The first thing to do, Woolf said, was to stabilize things. He dismisses the notion that Tamares is eager to sell its holdings along the Fremont Street corridor.

"There are some good people already working there," he said.

Of course, anything is for sale at the right price, he added, but apparently that price has not surfaced, so Tamares is prepared to be an operator.

A long way from Fremont Street, on the Pescadores or Penghu Islands in the Taiwan Straits between China and Taiwan, Woolf has signed on to help develop a casino that could take shape over the next two or three years.

He says the plan is a project of Amazing Limited, a land development company registered on the Isle of Man. University of Nevada professor Bill Eadington is also part of the development team.

Other enhancements that will occur downtown include an expansion of rooms and other facilities at Fitzgerald’s and the Golden Nugget.