There Goes The Neighborhood

Wynn Las Vegas and the Boom (2005-2015)

Posted by Chuckmonster


Right next door to the north lives the Stardust, home to Vegas icon Wayne 'Fucking' Newton, the first and still one of the best sports books in Vegas and more history than most Vegas Strip casinos combined. The Stardust has been patiently awaiting its very own Extreme Makeover - we're not talkin wallpaper and comforters here, it's time blow the shit up and build a palace. Sitting on top of a prime chunk of Wynn-adjacent real-estate, the Stardust could really make a play for Wynn overflow, but it lacks substance and style to truly compete (it still funky cool though.) But with its rooms being what they are (decent, but less-than-exhilarating) and its casino seemingly untouched since Frank 'Lefty' Rosenthal was run out of town, the Stardust lacks the luster to truly shoot for the universe... in fact it'd be lucky to make it to Albequerque without a tow truck. With Wayne Newton's $25M/year contract set to run until 2009, the Stardust has a couple of options - bite the bullet and let Wayne free, or implode and build incrementially while still in operation. Who knows how the Stardust's owners, Boyd Gaming, will elect to play their hand. But if they elect to implode tomorrow, the new property won't be ready for opening until 2007 at the earliest. One possible scenario is the announcement of the building of a new tower/casino (in new style) to open in time for the Stardust's 50th anniversary in 2008. Shortly thereafter, the original building will be imploded to make way for a new second tower/casino which will fuse together directly out front. Your guess is as good as ours about the Stardust's redevelopment timeframe, but one thing is for sure, it's gonna happen.

The Riviera

Further to the north of Wynn Las Vegas on the east side of the Strip stands the 9th casino to appear on the Vegas strip, The Riviera. The Riv has been quietly asking for, and needing, a mega-facelift and re-branding. With the Riv's 50th birthday bash coming eight days WLV's opening on April 28th, 2005, and its recent 26-acre property appraisal at $15-20M/acre - about $500M for the property alone - the possibilites for a major announcement regarding the future of the Riviera is VERY VERY HIGH. Will former 10% owner Donald Trump jump back into the mix? Doubtful, he seems more interested in real estate construction and development than the gaming game right now - his Trump casinos have been battling banruptcy for a few years now, and its doubtful that his balance sheet will allow further plunges into the unknown abyss of gambling. It isn't the first time Trump's played footsie with Vegas - and surely won't be the Donald's last.

Not to be bested by the Wynn, a slew of new megaresorts and facelift projects are proposed and rumored for the middle and southern ends of the Strip.

Project CityCenter

The long-time-coming implosion and re-development of the Boardwalk site by its owners MGM Mirage has been rumored for years, but with the announcement of "Project CityCenter" in late 2004, the trigger has been finally pulled on the aging Boardwalk. Known for its cheap table minimums (by strip standards) and the oldest felt in all of Vegas, the Boardwalk is a grinders paradise. Situated in the corner of 66 acres of prime parcel, currently inhabited by cheesy souvenier shops and a giant parking lot gulley between Monte Carlo and Bellagio. The Boardwalk's currently under-developed property is scheduled for incremental construction and eventual Boardwalk demolition (2008?) with an eye on a 2010 opening. The plan? Hi-rise condo units (1,500 of em), shopping, open air terraces, a megahotel (4,000 rooms), a botique hotel (400 rooms) and of course a casino (550,000 sq. ft). Design is currently underway and groundbreaking is scheduled to happen in early 2007.

The Cosmopolitan

Wedged into a somewhat horseshoe-shaped 8.5 acre plot of land that virtually surrounds the Jockey Club on three sides, the Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino is somewhat similar to Project CityCenter, in theory but not in scope. The properties developers, 3700 Associates envision a combination hotel/resort/casino/urban condo dwelling vibe with retail/spa/entertainment amenities built right in. "There's no other development on the Strip that provides condo unit owners that type of 'one-button' accessibility to the casino" says 3700 Associates CEO Ian Bruce Eichner. The question is, if you can only stand being in Vegas for 3 days at a clip, why would you want to live there? And do you really want to live on top of a casino? Only time will tell if this gamble will pay off. With Vegas becoming an urban metropolis and housing at a premium, its quite possible.

This is (probably) what Project CityCenter and Cosmopolitan are going to look like when they're all jammed in there:

(in the next installment, The Tropicana, San Remo/Hooters, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood and more...)

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Comments & Discussion

It's kind of sad to read back on this 8 years later with the stalled projects like Echelon and the Plaza, which never even broke ground. Not to mention the mothballed Fontainebleau that is probably going to meet its end in a scrap heap.

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