LAS VEGAS (AP) — The storied former Las Vegas Hilton, famous for staging Liberace and more than 800 sold-out Elvis Presley concerts in the 1960s and 1970s, has a new name and owner.
Florida-based timeshare company Westgate Resorts announced it purchased the LVH hotel from Goldman Sachs and Gramercy Capital and would rename it Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. About 200 of the nearly 3,000 rooms and suites will be converted to timeshare villas, while others will remain open to regular hotel guests.
"We will be providing the best of both worlds on our resort property," said new owner David Siegel, who was hoisted up by a crane Tuesday to help as crews removed the letters "LVH" from the hotel's giant marquee. "We are very excited to be taking this important part of Vegas history and reinventing it for the next generation of Las Vegas visitors."
A full renovation is planned, according to company officials. The famously large sports book will be upgraded with better televisions and seating, but will retain its name and continue hosting events such as SuperContest, the premier sports handicapping competition.
With 1,500 rooms, the property was the largest hotel in the world when billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian opened it as The International Hotel in 1969. Barbara Streisand performed an inaugural series of concerts there before Elvis Presley began a 58-show series that broke Las Vegas attendance records.
He later went on to set up his own penthouse in the hotel and generated millions in ticket sales in the years before his 1977 death.
The hotel was the site of the famous 1978 fight in which Leon Spinks defeated Muhammad Ali for the world heavyweight championship. It was also the site of an arson that killed eight people in 1981, just 90 days after a fire at the nearby MGM Grand casino that killed 85 people.
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