Local News


Riviera implosion brings an end of an era in Las Vegas

Posted at 12:20 AM, Jun 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-16 01:11:04-04

The implosion of Riviera's 24-story Monaco Tower brings an end of an era in Las Vegas.

The Riviera opened in 1955 as the Strip's first high-rise casino but a lot has changed in 61 years. In its final days, the Riv was dwarfed by higher high rises.

But the famed hotel has left its mark on the city and gave some of its biggest names their first job in Las Vegas.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman handled publicity for Riviera when she moved to Las Vegas in the mid-1960s.

"I have a special fondness for the Riviera," she said.

Of course, many legends graced the stage inside the Riviera, including Frank Sinatra, Liberace, George Burns and Barbra Streisand.

"Divas" star Frank Marino got his first headlining gig at the casino and remembers looking in the crowd at icons.

"On opening night I remember looking in the audience and there was Sammy Davis, Jr., there was Liberace, there was Redd Foxx," he said.

Soon the Riviera will join those icons as a memory but those who called the historic hotel home, it is a memory that will live on.

Goodman and Marino describe the event as sad and bittersweet. Goodman planned to stay home as the tower goes down while Marino was going to watch it at a nearby party.

When the implosion was complete, crews had a 30-foot pile of debris where the Monaco Tower stood.

"The contractor has a crushing device that takes the concrete from that implosion and crushes it so we can reuse it in terms of the fill at the site.  So there is a recycle component once the building comes down,"said Terry Miller of the Cordell Corporation.

There were 13 buildings on site before demolition work began. Crews say as expected they found asbestos while prepping the Riviera site for demolition but say it was not a concern for the implosion.

"We have gone through and taken everything out of the inside and all that stands now is the structure of the Monaco Tower," Miller said.