New Frontier Hotel and Casino

New Frontier Hotel and Casino
The New Frontier Hotel and Casino
Opening date October 30, 1942
Closing date July 16, 2007
Theme Western
No. of rooms 986
Total gaming space 100,000 sq ft (9,300 m2)
Permanent shows none
Signature attractions Gilley's"
Notable restaurants Gilley's
Phils' Steakhouse
Casino type Land-Based
Owner El Ad Properties
Previous names Last Frontier
The Frontier
Years renovated 1967
1989 Atrium Tower
Website None

The New Frontier was a hotel and casino located on the Las Vegas Strip that had operated continuously since October 30, 1942. Actually located within the unincorporated suburb of Paradise, Nevada, USA, it was the second resort that opened on the Las Vegas Strip. The Frontier closed its doors for good at 12:00 A.M. (Pacific Time) on July 16, 2007,[1] and was demolished on November 13, 2007.[2][3] A new hotel casino, tentatively titled the Las Vegas Plaza, is proposed to be built in its place. The demolition and its preparation were filmed for the National Geographic Channel and a program called Blowdown: Vegas Casino.

The marquee of the hotel was still standing until December 10, 2008 when it was taken down at the request of Steve Wynn prior to the opening of the Encore Las Vegas across the street.

Late 1940s view



The property started as a nightclub called Pair-O-Dice[4] that opened in 1930, then The Ambassador Night Club in 1936 and was renamed the 91 Club in 1939 for its location on US-91.[4] It was subsequently rebuilt and renamed the "Hotel Last Frontier" in 1942. On April 4, 1955, it was renamed the New Frontier, following a modernization of the resort.

The resort had the distinction of hosting Elvis Presley's first Vegas appearance in 1956, and the final performance of Diana Ross and The Supremes on January 14, 1970.

In the 1950s and the early 1960s, the New Frontier went through a succession of owners and operators. In 1966 and 1967 the New Frontier had secret ownership interests by Anthony Joseph Zerilli and Michael Polizzi, "two high-ranking members of the Detroit Mafia family" according to The Boardwalk Jungle by Ovid Demaris, along with Emprise Corporation (now called Delaware North Companies. (In 1971, a federal trial in Los Angeles found Zerilli, Polizzi and four other individuals, along with Emprise, guilty of concealing their interest in the casino.)[5]

On September 22, 1967, the resort was purchased for about $14 million by businessman Howard Hughes, who then shortened its name to "The Frontier". Mr. Hughes purchased the resort from the previous owners, which had also included Steve Wynn, with a 5% interest, in one of his early ventures when he first moved to the Las Vegas area. (Wynn indicated that he did not know that the other owners had mob connections.)

In 1988, Margaret Elardi bought The Frontier from the late Howard Hughes company, Summa Corp.. Elardi had previously been the part-owner of the Pioneer Club Las Vegas and the Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall in Laughlin. She closed the showroom, which had featured Siegfried and Roy, and down-scaled much of the hotel. In September 1991, union workers began a strike at the hotel, which would last for years.

Developer Phil Ruffin bought the resort in 1998 from embattled owner Margaret Elardi and her two sons. In 1999, the name was changed back to The New Frontier.

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

The New Frontier closed its doors on July 16, 2007, and demolished by implosion on November 13 (Clauss Construction and Controlled Demolition, Inc.). The entire property will be rebuilt as a new mega-resort on the Las Vegas strip.

Redevelopment plans

Frontier sign before removal.

In 2000, Ruffin announced plans to raze the current facility and replace it with a megaresort with a San Francisco theme, but high interest rates and the attacks of September 11, 2001 scuttled those plans. In March 2005, with Las Vegas' fortunes on the rise, Ruffin announced new plans to demolish the current facility and replace it with a new resort with 3,000 rooms.[6] After 65 years of continuous operation, the Hotel/Casino permanently shut down on July 16, 2007, although the lights from its sign were still lit at night up to its demolition. Lettering on the hotel's marquees was removed on August 1, 2007.

Trump Tower

Donald Trump, in partnership with Ruffin, has built a high-rise luxury hotel-condominium on some of its property, named the Trump Hotel Las Vegas.

Montreux Las Vegas

Phil Ruffin planned to build a $2 billion resort, Montreux (play /ˈmɒntr/), entirely funded by him (with no partners), on the site of the New Frontier. The name Montreux comes from the famed Swiss resort which sponsors the yearly Montreux Jazz Festival.

The upscale 2,750 room resort was intended to compete with the Mirage and Harrah's Paris. It was to use jazz music as a draw. Ruffin said, "We don't really have a Strip casino that advertises good jazz music." A second Montreux Jazz Festival could have been a yearly event at the resort.

The resort was to feature a 500 foot (152 m) tall Ferris wheel similar in size to the famous London Eye.

The site has 38.5 acres (15.6 ha) left after selling 3.5 acres (1.4 ha) to Donald Trump for the twin Trump Towers condo project located at the back of the property.

The Montreux bears a striking resemblance to the nearby Bellagio.

El Ad purchase

On May 15, 2007 it was announced that El Ad Properties plans to purchase the New Frontier for $1.2 billion. El Ad, which also owns the Plaza Hotel in New York City, intends to demolish the New Frontier and replace it with a replica to be called the Las Vegas Plaza.[7]

On May 16, 2007, it was announced to the 1,000+ employees of the New Frontier that the property would be closing on July 16, 2007 and be imploded on November 13, 2007. At 2:30 am on that day, the Atrium Tower was imploded with over 1,000 pounds of explosives.

The New Frontier sign was purchased by The Killers frontman Brandon Flowers, who supposedly aims to erect it on a patch of desert he owns.

The longest strike

From September 21, 1991 until February 1, 1998 members of the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas staged a strike against the New Frontier and the Elardis. A settlement was reached on October 28, 1997 when Ruffin announced he would purchase the New Frontier from the Elardis for $165 million. The strike ended when Ruffin officially took possession.

According to an article in the Las Vegas Sun, the following events occurred during the strike:

  • 17 CWU Local 226 strikers died.
  • 106 babies were born to CWU member mothers who have walked the picket.
  • The Dunes, Landmark, Sands and Hacienda were all closed and imploded
  • More than 21,340 hotel rooms were constructed in the Las Vegas Strip.
  • Construction on an additional 19,000 rooms and suites was started.
  • 235 of the original 550 strikers had walked the line in shifts manned 24 hours a day.


The Atrium Tower lasted only 18 years, being built in 1989 and imploded in 2007. The other two towers were built in 1967 and were dismantled by January of 2008.



External links

Coordinates: 36°7′46″N 115°10′6″W / 36.12944°N 115.16833°W / 36.12944; -115.16833

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