Boom, Bust and BA-BOOM - Nick's Picks 2006

Dr. Death Watch Returns For Las Vegas' Annual Physical

Posted by Chuckmonster

VT: What's up with Phil Ruffin/Trump and the New Frontier/Mondo project?

NPC: The first Trump tower appears to be happening. It's too early for me to tell if the second tower is as certain as The Donald and The Phil say it is. As for what's happening to the New Frontier, as far as I can tell absolutely nothing is happening to it. Phil, I challenge you to prove me wrong. Do you hear me Phil? I'm talking to you.

VT: As you mention before, Boyd has now announced very ambitious plans for the Stardust site. It sounds like there will be a pile of new, upscale hotel rooms coming on line. Can customer demand absorb this additional capacity, especially on the high end?

NPC: That's a good question. Based on Boyd's stock movement after the deal was announced, Wall Street is worried that this project might be too ambitious. I like it, though. It's bold, it's exciting, and the nay-sayers have been questioning Las Vegas' ability to attract additional customers since the Mirage opened. It always has. I think it will do so again.

The biggest worry is not in attracting interest, but in McCarran Airport being able to handle the number people who will want to come here. McCarran is already the 10th busiest airport in the world, and it has moved up on the list every year for at least the last three years. It's approaching capacity, and expansion possibilities are limited. Las Vegas is "planning" a new airport south of town by Jean, but it will be years before that really gets going. In order to keep rooms full, Las Vegas will need to focus on getting visitors who arrive here by airplane to come here for week-at-a-time stays rather than just long weekends.

VT: Aladdin/Planet Hollywood rebranding and construction is on the verge, based on the plans they have announced do you have any outlook on A/PH's future?

NPC: Not really. So far, I'm underwhelmed with what they've done. I'm not at all convinced that they're addressing some of the fundamental problems with the property itself. This is a badly designed place being managed by someone with little industry experience, and owned by folks whose pockets aren't as deep as they might at first seem. I'm not optimistic. It can limp by for a while, but I don't think it will be very long before folks are talking about this property again.

VT: The Ho! is closed. Where can we go for the $2 Fat Tires and megadogs?

NPC: The $2 Fat Tires I'll miss, the megadogs I won't. Only peripherally on the subject, I have a true Las Vegas story for you.

Several years ago, I'm across the street at the (now closed) Silver City. I'm walking into the bathroom and I see a gentleman, obviously in some distress, on his way out. He doesn't know me from Adam, but he says to me, "Trust me, whatever you do, don't eat the cheap hotdogs at the place across the street." I answered, "Sounds like good advice." These are the Las Vegas moments that stick with me. I guess that says something, but I don't know if it's all that pleasant.

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