The "hottest new resort in Las Vegas" (if you can believe the billboards) brings a slice of the D to Sin City. The D Las Vegas (formerly Fitzgerald's) is a casino resort currently under a massive $20 million renovation in historic downtown Las Vegas (aka "old Vegas"). But how Detroit-y is it? We sent intrepid reporter Nicole Rupersburg to take a look.
The casino-resort isn't really Detroit-"themed," but there will be certain touches once the renovation is complete this fall that will be uniquely familiar to Detroiters. Owner Derek Stevens is a metro Detroit native who still splits his time between Vegas and Birmingham. Stevens has already signed a lease with American Coney Island owner Grace Keros for the first American Coney Island outside of Michigan (it will be on the ground level facing Fremont St.). Detroit sports teams will be playing on the 15 flatscreens above the Longbar, supposedly the longest bar in Nevada.
Renovations on the two-level casino are expected to be complete on October 20 and include a sleek black and red motif throughout the modern lower casino level and all of the guest rooms (which got a total overhaul right down to the bedding). The lower level will also include "dancing dealers" – chicks bouncing around in skimpy outfits while dealing cards (hey, it's Vegas) — and the upper level is the "retro" gaming floor with historic coin-operated games like Sigma Derby that have since been decommissioned, emphasizing old Vegas nostalgia. We love nostalgia! The second floor will still have the patio overlooking Fremont that Fitzgerald's was famous for – you can bathe in the sweat and steam wafting up from the American Coney Island located directly below and it will feel just like home!
We were recently able to take a peek inside and see some of the work in progress. The signage still hasn't yet been totally switched over and when it's done the whole exterior and the escalator corridor connecting the two casino levels will be decked out in elaborate L.E.D. lights, so we're hoping that in the interest of journalism we get invited out to see the finished product.
Lingering questions include: will tourists that have never been to Michigan come away thinking they've had a real Detroit experience? It is not our understanding that casino employees will be stealing things from their cars, so likely not. But do take note Detroit department of tourism: if this place does well we might want to look into borrowing that leggy billboard to get more people out to the real thing.