By Richard N. Velotta / Las Vegas Review-Journal

Updated January 10, 2019 – 9:30 pm

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody that the sports book for the Circa Resort & Casino — the newly named integrated resort coming to downtown Las Vegas — will be a prime spot.

Construction is expected to begin next month for the first from-the-ground-up downtown resort in decades. The property’s doors scheduled to open in December 2020. The cost of the project hasn’t been revealed.


The name was disclosed Thursday at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center after Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s State of the City address.

For Derek and Greg Stevens, Detroiters who have passionately followed the Tigers, Lions, Pistons and Red Wings for years and own downtown’s D Las Vegas and Golden Gate properties, it was essential that the sports book be a Circa centerpiece.

“I still remember the very first day I walked into the Caesars Palace sports book and I had that wow moment in my mind,” Derek Stevens said when describing his planned three-story Circa book.

“Then, when I walked into the Las Vegas Hilton (now the Westgate) in 1986 and saw their Superbook … another wow moment,” he said. “I think what we’re trying to create that scenario where anyone who’s a sports fan is going to want to come over and check this out.”

Stevens promises to have the biggest sports book in Las Vegas “with the biggest screen in sports book history.” He wants to be able to show every major game being broadcast.

The brothers recently announced a partnership that will give them 10 percent ownership in the Vegas Stats and Information Network, headed by Raiders radio broadcaster and Review-Journal columnist Brent Musberger, and bring an in-house broadcast studio to Circa. That will allow bettors to have in-depth analysis from a roster of experts, including broadcasters, industry professionals and athletes.

But sports isn’t the only thing that will bring dazzle to Circa.

The 1.25 million-square-foot property and its 777-room hotel will be the tallest hotel north of the Strip at around 44 stories. Stevens said the top floor will be at Level 60, but “some floor numbers have been left out.”

The resort is being built on a city block that once housed the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids and Girls of Glitter Gulch topless club, across Main Street from the Plaza.

The property will have the longest outdoor bar on the Fremont Street Experience, five restaurants — he said the names and concepts would be disclosed later — and a two-level casino that will have entries on the street level and through a bridge connecting to a nine-story parking garage across Main Street.

The one restaurant idea Stevens let slip is a plan for a sublevel steakhouse.

Split-level casino

Stevens said a split-level casino is a design challenge for some properties, but he has implemented one at the D Las Vegas, inheriting the design at Fitzgeralds when he and his brother acquired it.

The 1,201-space parking garage, dubbed “Garage Mahal,” will be a special feature in itself, designed specifically with the convenience of ride-hailing drivers and their customer pickups and drop-offs in mind.

The resort will be defined by a design by Steelman Partners, accented by a backlit roofline and a multi-tiered pool amphitheater. The six tiered pools will have a view of a 125-foot high-resolution screen for pool events and sports watch parties using party concepts the brothers learned from holding events at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, which they own.

A memorable photo op is planned near the hotel front desk.

Vegas Vickie, the kicking cowgirl who was once perched high above the Fremont Street Experience, will become a key design feature of the lobby.

Stevens said Circa will be suite-heavy, since most downtown properties don’t have enough suites to meet demand. He also said the room product will be flexible enough to enable guests to choose a single Enova king bed or two queens on demand.

Stevens doesn’t expect to be at a loss for foot traffic at the property. The 18 Fremont St. address is accessible to the Fremont Street Experience, which annually draws 24 million visitors.

He said the Circa name is a nod to the great eras of the past, and the resort will deliver a new experience built on original old-school Vegas hospitality. He hopes to blend modern luxury and cutting-edge technology with service honoring the city’s golden ages — circa 1940, circa 1980 and, now, circa 2020.

McCarthy to build

Tré Builders has been hired as construction manager and McCarthy Building Companies Inc. — the team that is collaborating on construction of the 65,000-seat Las Vegas stadium — is the general contractor.

Stevens said he has been assured by McCarthy that its roster of laborers and subcontractors will be ready to keep the project moving at a time when there are multiple major projects under construction in Southern Nevada.

“I think this is great seeing these big projects coming together, between the Raiders’ stadium, Resorts World and Circa, I think there is so much pent-up demand in this city and there’s so much pent-up demand around the country for people to come back to Las Vegas,” Stevens said. “I think it’s just terrific that we have some great new projects coming to Las Vegas and more reasons for people to come visit us.”

Contact Richard N. Velotta at [email protected] or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.