By Eli Segall
Las Vegas Review-Journal May 8, 2019 – 6:04 pm
Updated May 9, 2019 – 1:10 pm
More than four years after he imploded the Clarion, developer Lorenzo Doumani has received approvals to build a luxury hotel in its place near the north Strip.
Clark County commissioners gave the green light Wednesday to Doumani’s plans for a 45-story, 720-room nongaming hotel at 305 Convention Center Drive.
The 6-acre project would also feature restaurants, 10 floors of convention and meeting space, and a so-called wellness medical spa that would offer “executive physicals” where patrons could get nutritional and exercise regimens.
The project, Majestic Las Vegas, is slated to cost $850 million, Doumani told the Review-Journal. He said he expects to break ground in April or May of 2020 and finish in the first quarter of 2023.
Commissioners approved his project plans 6-0. Commissioner Michael Naft was absent.
Doumani’s proposal comes amid long-standing hopes that the sluggish north Strip is poised for better days, as new mega resorts are in the works on that stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard and the nearby Las Vegas Convention Center is expanding.
He would also bring a new, high-end hotel to a site that, like countless others around the valley, boasts a volatile history – in this case, one marked by multiple name changes, bankruptcy and foreclosure proceedings, fizzled development ideas, and even an implosion that didn’t go as planned.
Doumani, owner of Majestic Resorts, told commissioners Wednesday that he wants to build a five-star hotel, something “intimate” and “classy” that will appeal to visitors who come to Las Vegas for conventions, or other reasons than gambling.
He also indicated the wellness spa would have a “beauty component” but not offer cosmetic procedures.
His project plans have been in the works for some time. Doumani, who bought the 12-story Clarion hotel in 2014 and imploded it in early 2015, told the Review-Journal that it took a year to secure Federal Aviation Administration approval for the new hotel’s proposed height. County documents say the tower would be up to 620 feet tall.
Doumani said he needed FAA approval before he went in front of the county commission.
The Clarion building had some 200 rooms, tiny compared to the megaresorts on the Strip, but it had a far-from-boring history.
It opened in 1970, and over the years its names included the Royal Inn, the Paddlewheel, the Debbie Reynolds and the Greek Isles. After going bankrupt under the late actress Debbie Reynolds, it was purchased at auction in 1998 by the World Wrestling Federation.
The WWF laid out plans to demolish the hotel and build a 35-story wrestling-themed casino, but it ended up selling the property in 2000.
In 2005, a developer said his group would buy the hotel and replace it with a luxury condo complex and 1,000-room hotel. But the landlord said their dealings had ended weeks earlier and that a document – apparently a sales contract – the supposed buyer filed with the county was “part of a pattern of misrepresentations.”
The property was sold in 2007 to a developer who filed plans for a 1.4 million-square-foot hotel project. But lenders filed court papers in 2009 to push the owner into bankruptcy, and the property was lost to foreclosure months later.