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     Vegas Implosions

         The Tally :  12 Resorts and 15 Implosions in the last 17 Years                                                                Back to Interesting Tidbits   

 

Sorted from oldest to newest

 


#1 & #2     Dunes / Bellagio

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Diamond of the Dunes

1964

1993

29

South Tower

1979

1994

15

The Dunes opened as a low rise resort in 1955. When the North Tower was added in 1964, it was one of the finest and largest hotels on the strip. The South Tower was added in 1979. The resort boasted an 18 hole golf course, a rooftop health spa and a 90 foot-long pool.

Steve Wynn bought the Dunes and started the implosion trend on Oct. 27th, 1993, with the implosion of the Dunes North Tower. With a pyrotechnics show worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster, the Dunes met her fiery death.

The Dunes counts as two implosions as the South Tower was obliterated in July of 1994 with no fanfare and minimal media.

The Bellagio now stands in its place.




Dunes North Tower implosion video
 




View the Dunes South Tower implosion video from KTNV channel 13 

 

   

 

#3     Landmark / Parking Lot
 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Landmark

1963

1995

32


The Landmark hotel was built in 1963, but didn't open until 1969. It stood tall and proud to be Howard Hughes' vision come true. The Jetsons-esque architecture was both loved and hated in the community.

In 1995 it became the second major property in Las Vegas to be imploded. (You can see the actual implosion in one of the scenes from Mars Attacks). It also had its last hurrah a month or two before the implosion by being the outside version of the fictional casino, the Tangiers in Martin Scorcese's film, Casino.

The Landmark was old, in bad repair, and unpopular. The Las Vegas Convention Center needed more parking, so on Nov. 7th, 1995...ka-blamo.

The 22-acre plot is still a surface parking lot which is becoming more valuable as time goes on. There are no immediate plans for developing the site.



Landmark Implosion video clip

 

 

 

   


#4     Sands / Venetian
 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Sands

1967

1996

29

 

The Sands opened on December 15, 1952, as a low rise resort.

Once the home of the Rat Pack, the Sands has a sordid history. The Sands was bought by Howard Hughes for $14.6 million on July 22, 1967. Hughes added a 17-story cylindrical  tower, containing 777 rooms.

After several owners and legal matters, the Sands found its way to the building boom era of the 90's. In 1996, with the Bellagio under way and Caesars expanding, Sheldon Adelson bought the Sands and removed the historic landmark to create another.

The Venetian Hotel now sits where Frank, Sammy and Dean once played.

 

Sands Implosion video clip

   


#5     Hacienda / Mandalay Bay

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Hacienda

1980

1996

16


In June of 1956, the 256-room Hacienda opened and sat alone at the far south end of the Strip.  This was long before the Luxor and Excalibur. It seemed isolated way down there and never spurred any development in the area.

In 1980, the Hacienda opened the 300-room, 11-story addition.

Circus Circus Inc. built the Excalibur hotel in 1990 and with its success, built the Luxor. The Hacienda now had a neighbor. The Luxor's success led Circus Circus Inc. to buy the Hacienda and level it to make way for their Mandalay Bay resort.

The Hacienda was imploded on midnight (EST) Dec. 31st, 1996 (New Years Eve) The Mandalay Bay, Four Seasons and THEHotel now grace the site.

Hacienda Implosion video clip

 

   


#6     Aladdin / Aladdin / Planet Hollywood
 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Aladdin

1972

1998

26


From its 1962 beginning, this property seemed to be doomed for failure. This property at times was called "The Vegas Jinx".

There were many owners, name changes, remodels, bankruptcies, closings, openings, and mob dealings throughout the years. The history of this resort reads like the 'who's-who' of the underground world.  In 1972 a 19-story hotel tower and a performing arts center were added.

On November 25, 1997, the Aladdin closed its doors forever. The Aladdin was imploded at 7:30 p.m. on April 27, 1998. The performing arts center was the only structure saved.

The new Aladdin mega-resort opened August 17, 2000, but the troubles didn't stop. Another bankruptcy, and much legal mumbo-jumbo led to its sale to the Planet Hollywood folks, who "Planetized" the whole resort in 2007.

Let's hope that's the end of the trouble.


Aladdin Implosion video clip

 

 

   


#7     El Rancho / Turnberry-Fontainebleau

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

El Rancho

1983

2000

17


Another long and changing history plagues this property. In short; It opened in 1948 as the Thunderbird. After many additions and changes it became the Silverbird in 1977.

In 1981, veteran gambling operator Ed Torres purchased the Silverbird, added a Spanish style mission front, and renamed it El Rancho.

In 1983 a new (cheaply built) tower was added along with a 52-lane bowling center, a bar and snack restaurant, and a 90,000-square-foot casino.

The El Rancho closed in 1992 and sat vacant until Turnberry snatched it up and blew it up in October of 2000 (good riddance).

The 4000-room, five-star bound, Fontainebleau mega-resort is under construction on the site.

 

El Rancho Implosion video clip

   


#8 & #9     Desert Inn / Wynn Las Vegas / Encore

See our article The Rise and Fall and Rise of an Icon to read more detail and see more photos of the Desert Inn saga.

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Augusta Tower

1978

2001

23

St Andrews Tower

1963

1993

14

Palms Tower

1997

2004

7 (wow)

9 floor garage

1997/03

3/6/07

10 and  4

 

 

The first Desert Inn implosion was the Augusta Tower in October of 2001 to make room for Wynn Las Vegas.

 

 

Desert Inn Augusta Tower Implosion video clip

The second Desert Inn implosion was the Palms and St Andrews towers in August of 2004 to make room for Encore at Wynn Las Vegas which is under construction now.


Desert Inn Implosion video clip

 

 

 

   


#10    Castaways / ?

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Castaways

1987

2006

19


On 1/11/06 the Castaways Hotel and casino tumbled to the ground. This is not a noteworthy implosion as the Castaways didn't have much history.  First named the Showboat, it was the first major "locals" resort. Station bought it in 2005 and has not yet announced plans for the property.

 

 

Castaways Implosion video clip

 

   


#11    Bourbon Street / Harrah's future
 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Bourbon Street

1985

2006

19


At 2:30 a.m. Tuesday 2/14/06, the small Bourbon Street Hotel and Casino became the 11th imploded building in Las Vegas. Harrah's (the new owners) is quickly buying up many parcels behind Bourbon Street and have not yet made their master plan known. Read more about Harrah's future here.

 

 

 
 #12    Boardwalk / City Center

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Boardwalk

1996

2006

10


Farewell to the faux roller-coaster and the disturbing clown, after 38 years of business, the Boardwalk became rubble at 2:30 a.m. Tuesday May 9th, 2006.  This will uncover a fraction of the land for MGM's massive CityCenter project.  Read more about CityCenter here.

The Boardwalk opened in 1965 as a Holliday Inn. A six-story room building was added in the early 70's. It was acquired by MGM/Mirage in 1997.  The 16-story tower (which was imploded) was built in 1996, it was only ten years old when it died.

 

 

Boardwalk Implosion video clip

   


#13  Wynn parking Garage / Encore

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

9-level garage

1997/03

3/ 6/07

10/4


With Encore rising behind it, the 9-level parking garage at Wynn Las Vegas had served out its short life. The space left is being used as Encore's main Porte Cochere, and the driveway for the future golf course redevelopment.

The east-most 1/4 of the structure was built in 2003 to house the cars from Wynn's 9,000+ employees. It was the youngest structure to ever be imploded.


Watch the implosion

 

   




Photo courtesy of Ringtail Studios
Click image to enlarge


#14     Stardust / Echelon Place
 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

East Tower

1964

3/13/07

42

West Tower

1991

3/13/07

15


At 2:33 a.m., March 13th, 2007, both of the Stardust's towers were imploded. The resort was given a grand sendoff with a spectacular pyrotechnic display. Over ten minutes of fireworks in full, grand-finally mode.   

The Stardust will be replaced by Echelon Place, a $4-billion multi-hotel mega-resort. Read more about Echelon Place and see more implosion photos on our Remembering Stardust page.


The remains           click image to enlarge

The spotlights that had been illuminating the towers all night, went dark as the tower fell. This unfortunate happenstance foiled the many attempts to capture the event in photos and videos. The photo (left) and the video (below) are the best we've found to date.




Watch the implosion

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 


#15 The New Frontier

 

TOWER NAME

BUILT

DESTROYED

AGE (YRS.)

Atrium Tower

1990

2007

17


Phil Ruffin sold the Frontier
to ELAD, owners of The Plaza New York, who are planning The Plaza Las Vegas.

They closed the Frontier on 7/16/07 and implosion took place 11/13/07
at 2:45 a.m. 

         


    Watch the implosion




 

 

Who's next?   

Rumor has it that Sahara's Tunis Tower, Bally's east tower, and Imperial Palace
are all on the chopping block. Stay tuned for the latest news.
 

 
 
 
 
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