Klondike Hotel and Casino

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Klondike Hotel and Casino
Klondike.jpg
Location Paradise, Nevada
Address 5191 S Las Vegas Blvd
Opening date 1962
Closing date June 30, 2006; 12 years ago (June 30, 2006)
Theme Western
No. of rooms 153
Total gaming space 7,700 sq ft (720 m2)
Casino type Land-based
Owner John Woodrum
Previous names Kona Kai Motel
Renovated in 1973
1982
Coordinates 36°05′00″N 115°10′20″W / 36.083295°N 115.172212°W / 36.083295; -115.172212Coordinates: 36°05′00″N 115°10′20″W / 36.083295°N 115.172212°W / 36.083295; -115.172212

Klondike Hotel and Casino (also known as Klondike Inn) was a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip in Paradise, Nevada, in the United States. The property began as the Kona Kai Motel in 1962, and was purchased by Ralph Engelstad in 1969. The motel was sold to John Woodrum, who renamed it as the Klondike Inn in 1976. A casino was eventually added, and the Klondike became popular among local residents. In 2005, the Klondike was sold to Royal Palm Las Vegas, which planned to replace it with a casino and condo hotel resort known as Paramount Las Vegas. The Klondike closed in June 2006, and was demolished in March 2008. Royal Palm Las Vegas had difficulty obtaining financing for the Paramount project, and the land was put up for sale later in 2008. A Harley-Davidson dealership opened on the former Klondike property in 2014.

The hotel sat on 5.29 acres (2.14 ha) of land on Las Vegas Boulevard, between the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign and McCarran International Airport. The Klondike was the southernmost hotel on the Las Vegas Strip until its closure. Mandalay Bay is now the southernmost hotel. Woodrum also operated a sister property, the Klondike Sunset Casino, in nearby Henderson, Nevada, from 1999 until his death in 2014.[1][2]

History[edit]

Kona Kai Motel (1962–1976)[edit]

The Klondike initially opened in 1962 as the Tiki/Hawaiian-themed Kona Kai Motel,[3][4] located at 5191 South Las Vegas Boulevard on the Las Vegas Strip.[5] In May 1964, the Kona Kai opened a lounge and restaurant known as Talk O' the Town.[6] Later that year, the lounge and restaurant was renamed Robin's, after co-owner Robin Criswell.[7][8] In June 1965, Sonny Morris reopened the restaurant and lounge as Sonny's Restaurant.[4] The motel was robbed of $640 in September 1965.[5]

Ralph Engelstad purchased the motel in 1969,[9] using money from a $2 million sale of the North Las Vegas Air Terminal to Howard Hughes.[10] The following year, Engelstad received approval to add several slot machines to the motel's tavern.[11] In 1973, four motel buildings from Engelstad's other Las Vegas Strip property, the Flamingo Capri motel, were relocated and converted into a one-story motel building for the Kona Kai.[12]

Klondike (1976–2006)[edit]

Katsumi Kazama, a business partner of John Woodrum,[13] purchased the land in September 1975, and the property remained under the ownership of the Kazama family for the next 30 years,[14] while Woodrum owned the motel.[15] Woodrum, a former business partner of Bill Boyd, took over operations of the motel on May 12, 1976,[16] and it was renamed that year as Klondike Inn.[3][17][18] In 1976, Woodrum provided a power line to the nearby Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, which had not been lit for several years. The county later provided power to the sign.[16][13] People frequently parked at the Klondike and ran across the street to take pictures of the Las Vegas welcome sign.[19][20]

The Klondike received a gaming license in 1982,[21][22] and ultimately became known as the Klondike Hotel and Casino,[23][15] while retaining the Klondike Inn name.[13][24] The Klondike included a western theme,[25][26] and was the first hotel-casino encountered by people travelling north on the Las Vegas Strip.[23][25] The hotel contained 153 rooms, and the casino measured 7,700 sq ft (720 m2).[27] The Klondike was popular among local residents and was known for its cheap restaurant specials and cheap gambling,[23][16][20] while the hotel was popular for its low room rates.[23] According to Woodrum, approximately 90 percent of the Klondike's customers were local residents.[28] In its later years, the hotel's clientele included out-of-town construction workers.[23][15] Bob Stupak, a longtime friend of Woodrum, was a frequent customer at the Klondike, as well as singer Tom Jones.[20][29]

By 1997, Woodrum had declined several offers to purchase the Klondike. At that time, the casino included five table games and 450 slot machines.[23] In 2000, Woodrum stated that Clark County wanted to demolish aging motels on the southern Las Vegas Strip for new megaresorts. Regarding the Klondike, Woodrum said, "It's a little ragged and not what they'd like to see on Las Vegas Boulevard and I understand this. But there isn't one of us left that wouldn't fight until our last breath."[30] In September 2004, Leroy's Horse & Sports Place began operating a sportsbook at the casino.[31]

In May 2005, Royal Palm Las Vegas LLC – a subsidiary of the Boca Raton-based Royal Palm Communities – bought 5.25 acres of land adjacent to the Klondike for $42 million. In September 2005, the Klondike and its 5.29 acres[13] were sold to Royal Palm for $23.7 million, for a total of 10.5 acres.[15][32] Woodrum acknowledged one reason for the sale being that the Klondike would not be able to compete with new, larger resorts. Another reason for the sale was the Klondike's rising property taxes, which had doubled in recent years.[13][33] The Woodrum family continued to operate the Klondike through an open-ended lease, while a closing date initially remained undetermined. Woodrum stated that the Klondike had remained financially successful but that, "Like anything else, progress takes its toll […]. You can only stand in the way of it so long and it rolls over you."[15]

The casino closed on June 28, 2006,[33] while the hotel, restaurant and bar closed on June 30, 2006.[16][34][35][36] The Klondike had 45 employees at the time of closure, down from 150 employees three months earlier.[13] Many employees from the Klondike were expected to be transferred to Woodrum's Klondike Sunset Casino in nearby Henderson, Nevada.[16][13] Shortly after its closure, the property was used for training by the K9 unit of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.[37] The Klondike's replacement would have been called Paramount Las Vegas.[38][39][40] The new resort, initially expected to cost $1 billion,[35] would have included an 1,864-room condo hotel and 80,000 sq ft casino. Plans for the new resort were approved by Clark County in October 2006,[38][41] but Royal Palm Las Vegas did not expect to begin construction in the near future.[42] Plans for the project were delayed in late August 2007, when an investor pulled out shortly before closing on restructuring a land loan.[32][41]

By September 2007, homeless people were living in the abandoned motel rooms of the Klondike. Royal Palm Las Vegas LLC was ordered by Clark County to either demolish the buildings by November 13, 2007, or repair them by December 18, 2007.[43] County officials considered the Klondike dangerous because of deterioration, which put its second floor at risk of collapsing. The Klondike was boarded up in November 2007.[44] By January 2008, plans for the Paramount project were uncertain as Royal Palm Las Vegas had difficulty obtaining financing, due to a tightening credit market.[41] Demolition of the Klondike began around March 17, 2008, and concluded on March 20, 2008.[37][45] The land was put up for sale in May 2008, at a price of $18 million per acre.[32] In May 2013, plans for a Harley-Davidson dealership were announced, to be built on the former land of the Klondike.[46][47] The two-story, 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) dealership, built at a cost of $18 million, opened on the site in October 2014.[48]

In popular culture[edit]

The Klondike appears in the 1997 film Vegas Vacation,[3][49] in which the character of Clark (Chevy Chase) plays unusual gambling games to win his money back.

The Klondike also appears in the 2005 film Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.[50][51] In 2005, Avenged Sevenfold filmed a portion of the music video for their song, "Bat Country", inside one of the Klondike's motel rooms.[52]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Casino reopens as Klondike Sunset", David Strow, Las Vegas Sun, October 5, 1999.
  2. ^ "Klondike Sunset gets new owner, Arnold M. Knightly, Las Vegas Review-Journal, September 16, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c "The Life and Death of the Kona Kai". LostAndFoundVegas.com. June 29, 2013. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Opening". Las Vegas Sun. June 11, 1965. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
  5. ^ a b "Police Hunting Strip Robber". Las Vegas Sun. September 3, 1965. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
  6. ^ "Opening announcement". Las Vegas Sun. May 18, 1964. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
  7. ^ "News". Las Vegas Sun. October 13, 1964. Retrieved August 29, 2018. (Subscription required (help)).
  8. ^ "Sun Dial". Las Vegas Sun. October 25, 1964. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
  9. ^ "Noted in Passing, Part II". Las Vegas Sun. May 13, 1969. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com.
  10. ^ Benston, Liz (November 27, 2002). "Imperial Palace owner Engelstad dies". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  11. ^ "Unanimous Approval Is Given To Torres' Top Riviera Slot Hotel". Las Vegas Sun. April 11, 1970. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  12. ^ "Building permit" (PDF). Clark County Department of Building & Safety. September 26, 1973. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 16, 2014.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g Robison, Jennifer (June 28, 2006). "Well-worn Klondike bid a warm farewell". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on July 25, 2008.
  14. ^ "Property records". Clark County Assessor's Office. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e McKee, David (January 9, 2006). "Klondike living on borrowed time: Florida-based developer eyes condo/hotel on South Strip". Las Vegas Business Press. Archived from the original on April 28, 2006.
  16. ^ a b c d e Katsilometes, John (May 28, 2006). "John Katsilometes talks with longtime Klondike Hotel owner John Woodrum about the place closing on June 30". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  17. ^ "Hotel license". Clark County. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  18. ^ "Island Prelude Party". Las Vegas Sun. September 5, 1976. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  19. ^ Katsilometes, John (August 18, 2006). "John Katsilometes discovers that finding out why the tourist crossed the road is nothing to joke about". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Katsilometes, John (January 6, 2014). "At his Klondike Hotel or the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign, John Woodrum kept the lights on". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on April 21, 2016.
  21. ^ "Gaming license". Clark County. April 1, 1982. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  22. ^ "General gaming license". Clark County. April 1, 1982. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d e f Patterson, Joan (August 10, 1997). "Down-home courtesy: Klondike draws locals with free dinners, plenty of nickel slots". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on September 18, 2000.
  24. ^ "Small casinos push for bill which would ease strict auditing standards". Reno Gazette-Journal. April 12, 1991. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  25. ^ a b "Neon Survey: Klondike Inn". University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  26. ^ Benston, Liz (November 20, 2010). "Casino owner says he worries about problem gamblers, opposes Internet gaming". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on August 4, 2016.
  27. ^ Smith, John L. (January 11, 2014). "Klondike owner remembered growing up hungry". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  28. ^ Haas, Greg (July 27, 2018). "Remembering past icons south of the Las Vegas Strip". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  29. ^ "Question of the Day". Las Vegas Advisor. February 11, 2016. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  30. ^ Packer, Adrienne (March 28, 2000). "South Strip hotels may be worth millions". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on February 27, 2017. Retrieved February 26, 2017.
  31. ^ "Business License Detail Information (Leroy's Horse & Sports Place)". Clark County business license database. Retrieved May 3, 2015.
  32. ^ a b c "Klondike Inn Owner Explores Sale", Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 31, 2008.
  33. ^ a b Katsilometes, John (June 29, 2006). "John Katsilometes on how 'Love' director Dominic Champagne was able to come up with a true Lady Madonna in the person of Natasha Jean-Bart". Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  34. ^ Brett, Jackie (June 11, 2006). "Klondike to close". Orange County Register. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via NewspaperArchive.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  35. ^ a b Curtis, Anthony (June 25, 2006). "Klondike, another victim of progress". The Arizona Republic. Retrieved August 29, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. (Subscription required (help)).
  36. ^ "Klondike Casino Closes After 45 Years on The Strip". KLAS-TV. June 28, 2006. Archived from the original on February 2, 2012.
  37. ^ a b Klondike History, www.leavinglv.net, August 28, 2008.
  38. ^ a b UC-0385-06 ROYAL PALM LAS VEGAS, LLC: from Clark County web site
  39. ^ "Coming Soon". Royal Palms Communities. Archived from the original on August 30, 2014. Retrieved March 16, 2017.
  40. ^ Segall, Eli (July 27, 2018). "South Las Vegas Strip has long history of failed projects". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  41. ^ a b c Knightly, Arnold M. (January 5, 2008). "Plans for Klondike Inn site stalled". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  42. ^ "Developer looks to give 'new twist' to the Strip, Ex-MGM exec to head casino operations". Las Vegas Business Press. October 16, 2006. Retrieved August 29, 2018. (Subscription required (help)).
  43. ^ Curtis, Lynnette (October 9, 2007). "Homeless camping on Strip". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  44. ^ Curtis, Lynnette (November 19, 2007). "County puts heat on Klondike owner". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  45. ^ "Klondike Being Demolished". Roy Vegas. March 18, 2008. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  46. ^ "Harley-Davidson plans $18 million strip dealership", Alan Snel, Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 10, 2013.
  47. ^ Segall, Eli (August 3, 2014). "South side has its own struggling stretch of Strip". VegasInc.com. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  48. ^ Curtis, Anthony (October 12, 2014). "Harley-Davidson dealership offers a lot more than hogs". Archived from the original on October 13, 2014.
  49. ^ Koch, Ed (January 7, 2014). "Former owner of the Klondike 'saw opportunities to do things and then got things done'". Las Vegas Sun. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  50. ^ Cling, Carol (April 19, 2004). "Shooting Stars: 'Congeniality' continues work; 'Crossfire,' 'Tonight Show' on way". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Archived from the original on October 30, 2004.
  51. ^ Murphy, Dean E. (May 30, 2004). "Seekers, Drawn to Las Vegas, Find a Broken Promised Land". The New York Times. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  52. ^ Avenged Sevenfold Making of Bat Country Part 2. YouTube.com. February 24, 2011. Event occurs at 3:35. Retrieved May 3, 2015.