Iconic downtown Las Vegas hotel getting a fresh new face

Iconic downtown Las Vegas hotel getting a fresh new face

By Makayla Zurn. CREATED Mar 13, 2012

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- Another downtown hotel casino is undergoing renovations and will change its name. Fitzgeralds is now The D Las Vegas. 

Fitzgeralds opened in 1979 as the Sundance Hotel and then eight years later was turned into everyone's favorite Irish-themed casino.

But just ahead of Saint Patty's day this week, The Fitz will now become The D.

"We knew about four months before buying the property that we were going to change the name, said Derek Stevens, CEO and co-owner of The D Las Vegas. "Then as part of the thought process we knew that in buying this property we wanted to upgrade it substantially."

And upgrade they will. The $15 million transition from Fitzgeralds to The D Las Vegas started with the opening of the Longbar. It's a 40-seat bar located right in the middle of the casino floor. 

In addition, The D will renovate all of its 638 guest rooms, add on a Fremont Street facing flare bar, and the rainbow and shamrocks will come down.

"We've already taken down the big 9,000 pound F's from the top of the building," said Stevens.

The transition comes right in the middle of a major overhaul downtown.

The oldest hotel in Las Vegas, the Golden Gate, is also getting a fresh face with a price tag of $12 million.

And changes to the Lady Luck, El Cortez, Gold Spike and The Plaza are sending a surge of tourists to Fremont Street post recession.

"We went from doing about two to three hundred cars a day to about 50," said longtime Fitzgeralds valet Aromie Morales. "And now we're back to about two to three hundred. And we expect more after the changes."

The changes taking place are also surprising longtime lovers of downtown.

"I'm like whoa that wasn't here before," said tourist Julia Thompson. "Looking around they're really doing a lot of different things," she said.

We're told the meaning behind the new name "The D" is a few things.

Stevens says it mainly stands for downtown because of the resurgence on Fremont. But also for his Detroit connection. That's where Stevens and his co-owner brother are from.

The renovations are expected to be complete by fall.