Arrivederci, babies!

March 25, 2008 6:00 PM
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Staff & Wire Reports | It looks like the Hooters Casino Hotel – famous for its spicy chicken wings and equally-tasty T-shirt clad hostesses – will be checking out of Las Vegas.

NTH Advisors of Santa Monica, California, has a deal to buy the 727-room hotel from Hooters Inc., founders of the chicken wing chain, for $95 million.

But NTH plans to dump the Hooters brand for a more upscale approach, president Richard Bosworth told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

"This will be a complete redevelopment of the asset that includes a lifestyle, entertainment-driven boutique hotel and casino complex," Bosworth said.

NTH plans a $130-million overhaul of the off-Strip hotel, designed by celebrity architect Dodd Mitchell. In published reports, Los Angeles-based Mitchell said he is re-designing everything from the ground up. "You will never see anything like this," Mitchell told thevegaseye.com. "I am designing this as if you are coming into my home."

According to renderings released to thevegaseye.com, the remodeled hotel will feature a rooftop nightclub, and the cabanas at the pool will be separated by waterfall curtains and islands.

In addition, the new owners may operate every outlet – restaurants, nightclubs and retail stores – themselves, thus bucking a recent Strip casino trend of leasing space to major operators.

One of the reasons for up-scaling the property is that its appeal has mostly been to the lower-end market. Rooms this month go for as little as $59 a night and routinely sell for $109 or less, except on Friday and Saturday nights.

Bosworth said he believes the renovated hotel/casino could generate more room revenue and be more profitable with a brand targeting higher-end customers than those that currently visit Hooters.

The redesign will also include expanding the casino and upgrading some of the hotel’s 727 rooms into suites.

No timetable has been set for the renovations, but it could take up to 18 months.

Earlier this month, the founders of Hooters sold their 22 restaurants for $55.1 million. They bought the Hotel San Remo Hotel in Las Vegas four years ago for $67.5-million and opened it after a sweeping renovation under the Hooters brand in February 2006.

The current plans would be the property’s second makeover in as many years. The sale of the property is expected to close later this spring or early summer.