The star-studded Cal-Neva Resort, a hotel and casino once run by Frank Sinatra and frequented by Marilyn Monroe, closed Monday as its new owners launched multimillion-dollar restoration project.
One of Nevada's oldest casinos, the Cal-Neva sits on the Nevada/California border. It first opened in 1926 and boasted 219 rooms, 10 stories, and a 6,000-square foot casino.
Sinatra took part ownership in 1960 and filled the place with his Rat Pack buddies like Dean Martin, Sammy David Jr., and Peter Lawford. Judy Garland once performed at the Cal-Neva, John F. Kennedy was a popular guest, and it's said that Monroe spent the last weekend before her death at the hotel.
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The Cal-Neva's heyday didn’t last. Sinatra gave up his stake in 1963 when his gambling license was stripped after Chicago mobster Sam Giancana was seen at the casino, according to The Associated Press.
After suffering from the recession and failing to match the draw of nearby Las Vegas, the casino portion of the Cal-Neva resort was shut down in 2010. The business has bounced between owners ever since.
But now Robert Radovan, co-owner of Criswell-Radovan who took over the Cal-Neva in April, wants to revitalize the resort.
"Our goal is to bring it back to its former glory and to make it what it was like in Sinatra's day," Radovan told the AP. "It has such great soul and character, and it's needed this redo for many decades."
The renovation will upgrade the facility's showroom, modernize the hotel rooms, and give life to the old casino. Radovan declined to estimate the price tag on the project, saying only that it will cost a "pretty penny."
The Cal-Neva is slated to reopen Dec. 12, 2014, which would have been Sinatra's 99th birthday.
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