Question of the Day September 18, 2014
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Q:Back on 9/3 we ran a QoD from a reader wanting a status update on certain specific construction projects around town, which we duly provided. But they also asked us to add to their list, which we promised we would do in the future. Well, the future is NOW! So here’s that follow-up, or at least the first portion of it.
A:Although there is a lot of talk with regard to some major projects, and we are seeing a number of long-mothballed beginnings finally coming to fruition (including the Wyndham Desert Blue timeshare tower that’s the immediate view from Anthony Curtis’ office and which was on ice for no less than five years), if sky-high latticed booms are any indication, nothing is happening. Compared to 10-15 years ago, when Las Vegas had a lock on construction-crane rentals, this city is Slumberland, USA. Still, there are some projects moving forward, while this question prompted us to look into the status of several that had fallen off our radar, in most instances for good reason, we discovered during the course of this update.
- The biggest project currently under way is miles from the Strip, near the corner of Sahara Avenue and the 215 Beltway (just south of Red Rock Resort). Downtown Summerlin (formerly known as The Shops at Summerlin Centre) is a colossal shopping center, covering more than 100 acres with 1.6 million square feet of retail, dining, and entertainment space in 125 stores. Originally planned to open in 2009, construction was halted in 2008, then resumed in 2013. Downtown Summerlin is anchored by Macy’s, Dillard’s, and Nordstrom Rack, with Las Vegas’s fourth Trader Joe’s and a multiplex. Many of the tenants have been in full-on hiring mode of late ahead of the October 9 scheduled opening date.
- The biggest project, by far, currently not-quite under way is Resorts World Las Vegas, the Chinese-themed megaresort that’s been approved for the Echelon site on the north Strip (Malaysia’s Genting Gaming Group bought the 87-acre property from Boyd for $350 million in early 2013). Construction on the $4 billion 3,000-room first phase was supposed to start in the "second half of 2014" and open in 2016, but one report has it that construction won’t start till 2015 and the first phase won’t be completed till sometime in 2017. Also planned for the resort are a 175,000-square-foot casino, 4,000-seat theater, rooftop "skypark" and observation deck, movie theater, bowling alley, indoor water park, and live panda exhibit. Eventually, four towers with 6,600 rooms are planned for the build-out, which is projected to cost $7 billion. Of course, given the fate of similar gigantic casino projects over the past decade or so, it certainly remains to be seen how much of the above actually comes to fruition—and when.
- We recently wrote about the other major hotel-arena construction possibility, the All Net Arena-Resort (see QoD 2/2/14 with a more recent Today’s News update). It’s a $1.4 billion 27-acre project, slated for the old Wet ‘n Wild site south of the SLS Las Vegas, with a proposed 22,000-seat arena, 44-story 500-suite non-casino-hotel, a 300,000-square-foot retail-dining-entertainment promenade, a 16-screen multiplex, and an outdoor skating rink. Though the Clark County Commission approved the project and the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in August that core drillings had begun at the site, this dream of former NBA and UNLV basketball player Jackie Robinson is to be totally privately funded and to-date, only a reported $300 million is in the can, so Jackie still has his work cut out in the fundraising department.
- The only one of the multiple proposals for arena projects that is actually under construction is the MRI/AEG Las Vegas Arena. This is a joint venture between Mirage Resorts and AEG, owner of more than 100 sports and entertainment arenas worldwide. The $375 million venue, which broke ground on May 1, will seat 20,000 and is scheduled to open in spring 2016. It’s being built behind New York-New York and Monte Carlo, abutting I-15. Events will include championship boxing and UFC matches, headliners, awards shows, and the like—upwards of 100 of which could be hosted annually. Some speculation has it that the arena could be the home to Las Vegas’ first major league team—hockey. (See QoD 9/14/14.)
- Although we covered this in the original answer to this QoD, there’s since been a little more information forthcoming about Bally’s two-acre six-story Grand Bazaar Shops, which continue to rise at the corner of Flamingo and the Strip on the spot formerly occupied by the long people mover and an unmemorable water feature. The "climate-controlled" mall (an open-air LINQ-type shopping center) will, reportedly, house up to 150 kiosks, little shops, small boutique-type stores (only as large as 3,800 square feet), and a reported 24 "dining ventures" (including four full-service restaurants, plus an array of cupcakes, ice cream, macaroons, meats, and spices). The technicolor mosaic-patterned roofs seem to have raised the eyebrows of everyone from the Paradise Town Board (who worry that the center will resemble a Tijuana arts-and-crafts market) to another writer in this space (who likened the colors and scale-like tiles to "dead koi"). The Grand Bazaar Shops will open, last we heard, in late December.
- South Point is still in the process of building its $30 million two-story 60-lane bowling arena to host championship tournaments -- we called to check and were informed by the front desk that the outside structure is pretty much complete, but they haven't started work on the interior yet. There has been no change to the originally announced September 15 opening, with the first major scheduled event being the USBC Women’s Championships in 2016. South Point’s existing 64-lane center will remain open to complement the new facility.
So, that pretty much brings us all up to speed with all the remaining major projects we could think of that are definitely moving forward. Tune in tomorrow for the latest word on some of the more dubious, offbeat, unlikely, or yet-to-get underway visions that have graced the drawing boards in recent times.
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