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Tropicana Las Vegas to close by April 2 to make way for future A’s ballpark

The 67-year-old Rat Pack-era hotel-casino was designated as the site for a $1.5 billion baseball stadium last year.
Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
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After almost seven decades of operations, the Tropicana Las Vegas is expected to close April 2, management told employees in a memorandum sent Monday morning. The memo stated that the Strip location needed to be demolished ahead of construction of a $1.5 billion baseball stadium.

Tropicana General Manager Arik Knowles told employees Monday that the 67-year-old Rat Pack-era Strip resort would begin closing out hotel bookings and relocate future reservations.

An operator at the resort said Knowles wasn’t accepting media calls but confirmed the existence of the memorandum. The news was first reported by Las Vegas Locally on X, formerly Twitter.

Knowles said Rhode Island-based Bally’s Corp., which operates the Tropicana, needs to finalize its master plan in which 9 acres of the 35-acre site would be turned over to Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics to be used for a future 33,000-seat stadium that is expected to open in 2028.

“We understand and appreciate the number of questions many of you have at the time,” Knowles wrote. “Please be assured that property leadership is working closely with Bally’s leadership to assist all team members through this transition period.”

Bally’s has yet to file a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, which is required by large workplaces 60 days before closing.

The Tropicana has about 700 employees, of which roughly 300 are represented by Culinary Workers Union Local 226. The Tropicana was one of the first individual resorts to negotiate a new five-year labor agreement with Culinary following settlements the union reached in November with MGM Resorts International, Caesars Entertainment and Wynn Resorts.

Culinary Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said Monday the Tropicana’s severance agreement will provide the union workers with $2,000 for every year they were employed at the resort.

“The company notified the workers that their plan was to close, but there were no dates,” Pappageorge said. “We worked hard through negotiations in December to try to get the right deal for those workers on the table knowing that there's a closure coming.”

Pappaggeorge said many longtime Tropicana employees have worked between 20 and 30 years at the resort.

“We worked very hard with Bally’s and the Tropicana negotiating team to get the agreement. It’s a significant severance package,” he added.

Last May, the Culinary Union reached an agreement with the A’s that would allow workers at the planned ballpark to potentially join the union. However, the stadium isn’t expected to open until 2028.

“We’re in great shape over there,” Pappageorge said concerning the future of the 35-acre site. 

A man walks in the Club Tower at the Tropicana Las Vegas on Jan. 16, 2024. (Jeff Scheid/The Nevada Independent)

In a statement that followed the Tropicana’s memorandum confirming the closing date, Bally’s President George Papanier said the shutdown was “an exciting next chapter” for the company, which operates 16 casinos in 10 states, including Bally’s Lake Tahoe in Stateline. The company is focused on developing a $1.7 billion casino in Chicago that is expected to open in 2026.

Bally’s has not yet said what it plans to develop to replace the Tropicana, but A’s owner John Fisher said last week the team wants Bally’s and Gaming and Leisure Properties, the real estate investment trust that the entire 35 acres, to offer conceptual designs for how a new resort would fit with the stadium.

“We think that will give everyone a better picture of what the redeveloped location would resemble,” Fisher said. 

The A’s declined to comment Monday about the Tropicana announcement.

In its statement, Bally’s said, “The master plan for the site will accelerate once the Athletics’ ballpark concept design is finalized. The overall development will create energy and vibrancy that previously hasn’t existed on this side of the Strip, adding additional excitement for the sports destination,” the company said.

Nevada lawmakers last June approved SB1, which created a public funding package worth up to $380 million to help construct the stadium for the relocated Athletics. The legislation specifically designated the Tropicana as the site for the future ballpark. Developers said the 1,500-room hotel casino needed to be closed and demolished by the end of the year to allow construction to begin by April 2025. 

Tropicana employees have said they are continuing to work through the distractions concerning the A’s relocation.

“While this is a great opportunity for the company, it comes with a bittersweet feeling as this means that operations of the Tropicana Las Vegas will shut down for redevelopment,” Knowles wrote.

Updated at 1:50 p.m. on 1/29/2024 to include additional comments and details.

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