Downtown motel gets multi-million dollar makeover

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A newly renovated motel promises to bring a bit of Palm Springs to downtown Las Vegas. The Downtowner has reopened as a nightly motel after the first phase of a major makeover.

The property at 8th and Ogden originally opened in 1963. In recent years it was used as a weekly apartment or short-term rental. Now, The Downtowner hopes to be another part of a larger project to breathe new life into the East Fremont neighborhood.

“We’re really excited to share this with the town,” said Downtowner general manager John Yzaguirre. “It’s not just for hotel guests, but we’ve renovated the lobby and done a bar to embrace local business.”

Much of The Downtowner is designed to trigger a nostalgic response. Its retro aesthetic is apparent in many aspects, including the pink flamingos that decorate the courtyard.

“We’ve embraced a mid-century modern vibe,” said Yzaguierre. “We picked a little bit up from Palm Springs to bring it to downtown.”

Yzaguierre said the hotel offers many kitschy and quirky items, along with what he calls “Istagrammable” spots for tourists.  There is also a front desk that doubles as a bar and a six-hold putting course, which is free to play for hotel guests or with the purchase of a cocktail.

“There’s a new vibe. It’s an artsy vibe,” said Yzaguirre.

But The Downtowner has a bigger purpose and is seen another key to helping improve a long-neglected part of Downtown Las Vegas. It is the work of DTP, the side company started by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.  DTP – formerly known as Downtown Project – was launched in 2012 to put $350-million into real estate, entertainment, and tech startups around Fremont Street.

Yzaguierre said The Downtowner will help to improve the image and safety of the neighborhood.

“We are embracing the locals,” said Yzaguierre. “We are making these streets a little safer in this area. The safety has really turned around down here, so we’re really excited about that.”

The first phase of The Downtowner’s remodel cost $2.5-million dollars and renovated 88 rooms. The next two phases will happen in buildings adjacent to the property. The Downtowner is already open for guests. There is a ribbon cutting ceremony scheduled for May 30.

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