LAS VEGAS — The Fitzgeralds hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas is planning to rename itself the D Las Vegas and spend $15 million to renovate while it remains open.
Casino owner Derek Stevens said Tuesday that he bought the casino last year with the intention of changing its name and sprucing things up to make it a hotter spot.
"I really didn't want to buy the hotel to maintain the (current) hotel," Stevens told The Associated Press.
Stevens, who also owns the majority of the nearby Golden Gate casino, said Fitzgeralds was a licensed name and he wanted something that wasn't associated with any other property.
The "D" in the name stands for "downtown," Stevens said, but it's also an homage to his hometown of Detroit and an acknowledgement of his own nickname.
The property includes nearly 640 hotel rooms and a casino with two levels. It was previously owned by Don Barden, the first black casino owner in Sin City.
Fitzgeralds' giant neon "F" signs have come down from the tallest building in downtown Las Vegas, and a wrap noting the new name was expected to be installed in the coming days, Stevens said.
The renovations will come two floors at a time, officials said, and the casino will be split with one level decorated in a contemporary style and the upper level serving as a throwback to Vegas' old days.
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Stevens said he wants to position the casino as part of revitalization efforts downtown, with a performing arts center and new city hall recently opening, and high-tech retailer Zappos.com planning to move downtown.
"We're part of this whole resurgence," Stevens said.
Gambling revenue in downtown Las Vegas rose less than 1 percent to $496.7 million in 2011, though it climbed 3.5 percent overall in Clark County. Gambling revenue in downtown was $47 million in January, up 13.7 percent compared with the same month one year ago.
Oskar Garcia can be reached at http://twitter.com/oskargarcia .
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