South Beach resort splashes onto West Trop

Feb 5, 2002 8:51 AM

Goodbye, Golden Palm. Hello, South Beach.

The intersection of Tropicana and Industrial will be getting a new high-rise and a whole different look as developer Marvin Lipschultz unveils plans this week for a 24-story hotel-casino and timeshare resort where the old IHOP and Howard Johnson now sits, and will be known as South Beach Resort Casino and Time Share. “It’s all coming down,’’ Lipschultz told GamingToday on Monday. That means the HoJo, the Golden Palm casino and the IHOP will give way to a 535,000-square-foot resort decked out in art deco décor that evokes the spirit of Florida’s famed South Beach playground.

Included at the site will be a 30,000-square-foot casino, 460 rooms and timeshare suites, showrooms, restaurants, a spa and other amenities. The makeover is being designed by Bergman Walls & Associates, whose principal, Joel Bergman, masterminded the Paris hotel-casino and served as Steve Wynn’s in-house designer and architect.

Lipschultz ”” a Nevada developer who built more than 1,000 homes and condos in Las Vegas, Denver and Aspen over the past decade ”” jumped into the hotel-casino business in 1999 when he bought the Trop-Industrial parcel.

With 250,000 vehicles passing the freeway-close property each day, Lipschultz is betting that his multimillion-dollar investment will pay off.

“Leroy’s (then the property owner and sports book operator) was losing money hand over fist,’’ he recalled. “But the casino/hotel became profitable after the first month and it’s been profitable ever since.’’

No opening date has been set, but Lipschultz’s companies ”” the 100 percent owner of the property ”” says he is rounding up his financing. Ground-breaking is targeted for the second half of this year.

County planners, meantime, are prepared to recommend approval for the project this week. But there could be some confusion over the name of the project. Listed on county documents as the “Gold Rush Casino & Hotel,’’ Lipschultz’s venture sounds a lot like the seven-year-old club on Sunset Road in Henderson.

Gold Rush general manager Steve McLaughlin said use of that name has caused some credit card disputes from Tropicana and Industrial to land on his desk. But even though the Henderson operator does not have a corporate copyright on the Gold Rush name, Lipschultz says he does not intend to utilize the moniker.

After all, there’s already more than enough gold to go around, what with the Gold Coast, the Gold Spike, the Gold Strike, the Golden Nugget, et al.