Nick's Picks 2008 : Interview With Nick Christenson from Las Vegas Casino Death Watch

Turn your head and cough Las Vegas, the Doctor is In

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: This year, MGMMirage began to de-theme Luxor. What do you think this decision bodes for remaining themed properties in MGMMirage's portfolio - Excalibur, New York-New York, currently Frankensteined TI (Treasure Island) and Mirage?

NC: Well, you can only de-theme a building that looks like a pyramid so much. You've got to do a little more work on it before it will start to remind people more of the Hotel de Paris than Giza. They've already sort-of de-themed the TI. I think that's done for a few more years. I think if they're going to throw money at truly messing with the Ex, they may as well replace it altogether. The Mirage has already gone through significant refit inside, most of the restaurants have changed, they've completely redone their shows post-S&R, and they've added their new show and nightclub. I don't think they're going to emphasize the tropical theme, but I don't think they'll bury it either. Same goes for NY-NY. At any MGM Mirage place with a theme, how many shows, clubs, attractions or restaurants are truly faithful to the theme any more? Not many. Most of the de-theming has already been done.

My guess is that 15 to 20 years from now, themed resorts will come back into vogue again. Why? Because we'll be sick of de-themed resorts.

Tropicana in Trouble

VT: Across the street from Excalibur stands the mightily neglected Tropicana. Fresh from being booted from Atlantic City for unsavory business practices, Tropicana owner Columbia-Sussex' plans for the Trop have changed drastically. What's going on over there?

NC: It seems to me that what's happening there is Columbia Sussex is hoping that they get to keep their Nevada gaming license. At the same time I think they're hoping they can get enough money from selling their out-of-state properties that to remain solvent. It looks to me like these folks are serving tea to the people from the SPCA in the main house while they're beating the horses back in the barn. Unless Columbia Sussex radically changes their business model, I don't see how this ends well for them. My question is how many people will they hurt on their way down.

VT: The Cosmopolitan defaulted on their loan and is facing foreclosure. Does this snag in financing put the Cosmo on deathwatch? Will MGMMirage buy them out then finish it - or is there a wrecking ball in the Cosmo's cards?

NC: I'm not sure there's enough there yet to require explosives, and it's hard to mourn a place that never opened. Financing can be had, the question is, on what terms. I don't know who will end up owning the place. If it's MGM-Mirage, and if a bidding war erupts they might be interested, I don't know if they'd finish it or undo it.

Planet Hollywood

VT: You've stated your disappointment with the old Aladdin for many many years.

"Basically, though, the place is not designed well. This needs to be fixed, and not with paint, new signage, and a few throw pillows. I'm not sure Planet Hollywood has the capital to really redo this place in the right way. My expectation is that it will languish. I hope they make me eat my words." (from Nick's Picks 2005)

So, how'd they do?

NC: Hey, that's not fair quoting something I said before! It's hard to keep my perfect record of predictions intact when people actually go back to see what they were. Doesn't the Constitution guarantee online pundits the right to equivocate? It sure seems like it.

Planet Hollywood certainly spent some effort on improvements, and I like a lot of what i see, but the same fundamental structural problems remain. Parking is tough to get at, the Strip entrance is awkward, and you have to hike a long ways to get from parking to the Casino. The only way to fix these problems is to do a much more serious overhaul, one that takes down most of what's on the ground floor and rebuilds it from scratch. Planet Hollywood didn't do this. I'm worried that they'll find that the new place doesn't do a whole lot better than the old one. We'll see.

     Add To Itinerary


Comments & Discussion

» No Guts, No Glory... Be The First to Post

Comments Are Closed