Vacation Village

By Cameron Yana

Vacation Village

Most locals of Las Vegas are familiar with the lavish shopping center known as Town Square. Located on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, Town Square has become quite a popular shopping center since it opened to the public in November of 2007. However, very few know of the hotel and casino, Vacation Village, which previously called this location its home.  

Vacation Village opened in 1974 and enjoyed marginal success throughout its 30 years of operation. In 2002, the property was sold in a court auction due to the owner’s bankruptcy. Analysts attribute the financial failures of the casino to its inability to compete with local gambling markets. UNLV public administration professor Bill Thompson explains, “It’s too far down the Strip to attract tourists and doesn’t have the amenities to interest the locals it appears to be targeting.”

Although it seems like the bankruptcy was caused by a lack of revenue, several shareholders disagree. They claim that they were led to believe that they’d receive an extension on their $19.35 million loan provided to them by Foothill Capital Corporation. In fact, Vacation Village had never missed a payment on their loan, and company officials maintained that business was not as poor as many portrayed it to be. Shareholders were shocked when Foothill Capital chose to foreclose on the property–appraised at over $99 million. Shortly after the news, Vacation Village Inc. filed bankruptcy in order to prevent their imminent foreclosure. Vacation Village was then sold in bankruptcy court to Shawn Scott who paid a price of $17.8 million. Following the purchase Scott made the decision to close Vacation Village down permanently: a choice that disappointed many local customers and employees. Members of the managerial team believed that Vacation Village could have continued to operate at a profit. Former Vacation Village general manager Saint John Martin informed The Review Journal that the only reason Vacation Village closed was because “Shawn Scott told us to,” insinuating that he believed there was no legitimate reason for the location’s closure.

In 2004, the 25-acre property, including the Vacation Village building itself, was sold to Turnberry Associates and Centra Properties LLC for a price of $25.5 million. Shortly after the sale, the 315 room hotel and 15,000 square foot casino building were demolished, leaving a large vacant lot on which to develop. A year later, construction began on the Town Square shopping center.

Perhaps if someone other than Shawn Scott had purchased the property, Vacation Village would still be open and operational today. But would that really be the most beneficial use of the property for the Las Vegas community? The short answer is “no.” It’s always upsetting to see an old casino become nothing more than a memory, but Town Square is far more of an asset to both the locals and tourists of Las Vegas than Vacation Village. Comprised of over 22 buildings and designed as an open air shopping and dining center, Town Square uses the parcel of land in a way that Vacation Village never did. The Vacation Village hotel and casino was not large by any means, and much of the property was left unused leaving large empty spaces of desert. Town Square fills every inch of the property it rests on and does so in a way that is aesthetically and architecturally pleasing to those who visit. Unlike its predecessor, Town Square is a memorable location that provides its patrons with activities other than gambling.

It is always important to remember the history of our city, and though Vacation Village was not a spectacular destination, it was a part of Las Vegas and deserves remembrance. However, in losing Vacation Village the city of Las Vegas gained a valuable asset that benefits the community in a much more significant way.

Sources

Hodge, D. (2000, December 21). LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: BUSINESS: Experts probe Vacation Village’s t…. ReviewJournal.com. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2000/Dec-21-Thu-2000/business/14940470.html

Shubinsky, J. (2004, January 3). Vacation Village site sold; retail development planned . Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2004/jan/30/vacation-village-site-sold-retail-development-plan/

Simpson, J. (2002, January 9). Vacation Village casino may close. ReviewJournal.com. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jan-09-Wed-2002/business/17831656.html

Simpson, J. (2002, January 10). New casino owner studies options. ReviewJournal.com. Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2002/Jan-10-Thu-2002/business/17839516.html

Urban Exploration Resource: Display Location: Abandoned Hotel and Casino (Vacation Village). (2004, June 26). Urban Exploration . Retrieved March 1, 2012, from http://www.uer.ca/locations/show.asp?locid=21360

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: