Founder of three of Las Vegas’ best-known hotels dies at 85

Aetna Inc. executive Alan Lapidus, the architect of at least three of Las Vegas’ most sought-after hotels and casinos, died June 9 of a heart attack. He was 85. Lapidus was the architect of…

Founder of three of Las Vegas’ best-known hotels dies at 85

Aetna Inc. executive Alan Lapidus, the architect of at least three of Las Vegas’ most sought-after hotels and casinos, died June 9 of a heart attack. He was 85.

Lapidus was the architect of Aria Resort & Casino and Bellagio Las Vegas, both in Las Vegas; Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas; and Wynn Las Vegas in Las Vegas. He also designed the Bellagio Spa, Mandarin Oriental in Shanghai, and the ballrooms at the Bellagio, where he worked from 1986 until 2001.

“Alan is so well known in this town for the elegance and romanticism of the decor, as well as the delicious dinner that every single customer demands,” said Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust, Lapidus’ client for 22 years.

A member of the Las Vegas Design Review Board from 1992 to 2003, Lapidus had some success in courtrooms. He won a $125 million judgment against Donald Trump for allegedly using his name on a profitable bridal shop, but a judge overturned the award after Trump’s lawyers complained about Lapidus’ lavish lifestyle.

While at Aetna, from 1966 to 1976, Lapidus built what is considered to be the nation’s first Aetna Towers in Providence, R.I.

He was later president of Rand McNally & Co. from 1982 to 1990. He became executive vice president of Rosenfeld Realty in New York in 1994, and in 1998 was appointed special adviser to billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett, then chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. He left Rosenfeld in 2001, to join the firm Jones Lang LaSalle as managing director.

Alan Albert Lapidus was born Sept. 27, 1924, in Louisville, Ky. He graduated from Louisville’s Westminster College and MIT.

He is survived by his wife, Dorothy.

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