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Lucky Dragon foreclosure auction now February 22nd

A lion sniffs at its payment and lettuce during the "eating the lettuce ceremony (Choy Cheng)" during the grand opening of the Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. (Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau)

In front of Nevada Legal News on 4th, I was wondering if some of the maybe two-dozen people standing by a podium may hold the key to the Lucky Dragon’s future. We were here to watch a foreclosure auction and see if someone there had some very deep pockets.

Look who we saw.

Maybe "D" owner Derek Stevens is the white knight.

“So I just wanted to come out here and be an observer and see what happens,” Las Vegas Downtown Casino Mogul said.

RELATED | Lucky Dragon up for auction less than two years after grand opening

What did happen, the Lucky Dragon's date with a deal, “has been postponed to Feb. 22, 2018, at the same time and place due to beneficiaries request,” said Auctioneer Heather Ebneter.

That would be the trustee, First American Title Insurance. At issue: about $49 million still owed on a construction loan of $90 million.

So what's up? We reached out to First American, the property and the developer haven't heard back.

A source tells us this could mean all parties need more time to work something out; doubts a new investor's in the picture.

However, we may know more the Feb. 22.

It’s been a long journey to this downtown parking lot on 4th from opening day on Sahara in December 2016.

That night the 139 million dollar property targeting the Asian customer sparkled, but trouble lurked.

Just next door at the reborn "Mint" bar, owner Todd Worz says he knows why.

“I think they were going after a very small niche audience for such a large venue,” Worz tells me before his happy hour rush arrives.

At the Lucky Dragon, customers dwindled, then came layoffs, a default, and in January, the casino and restaurants closed.

“Both of us went there, usually two, three, four times a week,” says former Lucky Dragon regular Matt Silvanic, out for a stroll near the resort with a friend.

“The building is beautiful. The hotel is nice. I’ve seen everything in there,” says Silvanic. He says the problem was marketing: too overboard on the "Asian” for his tastes.

“It was all pretty much Chinese machines and Chinese food and no entertainment,” he said, adding, “get a subway, or Mcdonalds, in there, something, you know, at least a pizza place.”

Others think it's the location: the neighborhood has seen better days, but back at the mint, they'd be no place else.

“Part of the appeal to us buying this particular location was the future building opportunities that are going to be surrounding us,” says the mint’s Worz.

His business is working at the north end, near a section of the strip waiting for takeoff, now with a resort waiting for a future.

Back to Derek Stevens, who knows a thing-or-two about running a property: his “d” is successful, his golden gate has a new look, and he’s building downtown’s first new-from-the-ground resort in years on the site of the old las vegas club.

His assessment of the Lucky Dragon’s prospects? “I think it’s going to be tough to make it as a casino, though, in that location,” he told us, adding, “it’s not the easiest place to get in-and-out of.”

Still, he says he was just here to watch.

“Well, I’m here more as an observer,” he repeated.

“But you never know.”




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