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What's Happening Around Downtown's Western Casino?

February 11, 2013 at 7:57 PM | by | ()

Hmmm, is downtown's defunct Western Casino playing possum or a potential phoenix in the making? There are a couple of reasons you might be keeping tabs on the place in your future visits to the area.

A hangover from the old days of Downtown Vegas, long before Fremont East was the hip place to visit, the Western Casino was by all counts, funky. While only a couple of blocks from the El Cortez, the area and clientele were often by most accounts we'd heard sketchy. When it closed in January 2012, other than those who enjoyed the very cheap booze, few missed it. And, it has lain dormant ever since.

Built in 1970, current co-owners include the Tamares Group that count The Plaza and the Las Vegas Club in their Vegas real estate collection. But, while this pair have received, or will receive a remodel, the Western is sitting still.

Earlier this month, the Las Vegas City Council approved an extension for the Western to keep their old liquor and gaming license for another year. The official reason for the extension is "due to the economic climate in Las Vegas, making it difficult to secure a new tenant for the subject site."

We'd heard a few fast and loose rumors about what this place might turn into, from condos and a boutique hotel to just being demolished. Other than a smart business decision, this move makes us wonder if they are actually fishing to sell it intact as a casino.

We'd not heard that Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project were interested in the building. But, that doesn't mean the long reach of their revival hasn't reached this section of Fremont Street. Across the road from the Western, at 900 Fremont, there are moves to turn the empty acreage into a fenced parking lot to serve future downtown visitors. Think Shipping Container Park. A year ago, the idea that you'd choose to park here and then walk back towards the Fremont Experience wouldn't have sounded a great idea. With a fenced property, it sounds like it might work out. The Downtown Project is connected to this development.

And, right across from this future parking lot? The forthcoming phoenix rebirth or possum awakening of Atomic Liquors. You'll be hearing much more about that soon. As usual we'll keep you posted.

(Photo: maisonbisson on Flickr, AccessVegas.com)

Archived Comments:

Please someone buy this place.

If only to reduce the presence of Tamares in downtown.

I miss the Western

The Western was an odd place in its later years.  It was always an experience.

Never Been there

and I am never going back...

In all reality that is one place I kept thinking about wandering down to just for a look see but never did.

So much for those old thoughts...



Metro has really worked hard the past year-plus to clean up East Fremont (and I mean all the way to Maryland and beyond). We stopped and parked to take a peak at Atomic Liquors near midnight about a week ago and did not feel unsafe. But, we were a couple of guys.

I'd be shocked if anything amazing happened at The Western. The ROI simply isn't there, and the median income downtown isn't going to support a mini-Red Rock anytime soon. (Zappos doesn't seem to employ a lot of six-figure workers).

Given the history of East Fremont (remaking old dives without breaking the bank), I could see them just cleaning the place up really, really good and opening it as a slots-only gathering spot for the pending wave of downtown workers for now. Nobody said that they have to do anything grand to it right away!


As a solo female who often wanders Fremont East in the daylight hours, I have to say that I do still feel a little uneasy, especially beyond El Cortez or venturing off of Fremont Street. I make sure to keep a tight eye on what's happening around me.