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Steve Wynn Talks Cosmopolitan

By JohnH on Wednesday, 11th August 2010 5:07pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 13


Earlier today, Steve Friess - Vegas Seven's "Best Blog in Vegas" winner - posted a few transcripts from his super secret, hyper-classified conversation with Steve Wynn. In said conversation, Steve (Wynn) offers his never unwelcome - that is, unless we're talking politics - opinion about what works and what doesn't, this time targeting The Cosmpolitan of Las Vegas. Before we get started analyzing Wynn's remarks, we figured we'd let you take a read. Go ahead, we'll wait.

The good news: Cosmo has great rooms. We've been saying this for quite a while, but it's good to hear that Wynn's a fan.

The bad news: He thinks the arrival and departure points at the hotel have some serious problems. More accurately, he has called the porte cochére "constrained." However, without being able to see exactly what it is Steve is talking about, you can't really get much of an idea how constrained and/or difficult making your automobile entry into the Cosmo really will be.

Well, luckily enough, it looks like Vegas Today and Tomorrow still has those early floor plates archived, which might just give us an insight into how bad these ingress and egress problems really are.

As a disclaimer, these plans are almost five year-old leftovers from the Ian Bruce Eichner-era Cosmopolitan. Things could have changed dramatically in that time frame and what we have sitting in front of us could be totally and utterly inaccurate. These drawings, then, are purely for recreational purposes. There, Dick in legal has now been satisfied.

So, let's get started.

Cosmopolitan Porte Cochere

After entering on Harmon, the Cosmo Car Park Rodeo starts with the 90-degree turn as Mr. Wynn mentioned.

After that turn, you'll have two options: Self-park customers will proceed forward and head down into the subterranean garage. Valet customers will make a slight right and head toward the multi-lane porte cochére.

Cosmopolitan Porte Cochere

Now where Wynn really takes issue with the Cosmo's entry is what happens after you have to leave the porte cochére. If you look closely, cabs, airport shuttles, and semi-drunken drivers are going to have to pull directly out of the porte cochére, head forward a few feet, make a massive u-turn, and head directly back towards the porte cochére they just left. After that u-turn, drivers are going to head back toward Harmon, but are going to be met with increased traffic coming out of that subterranean self-park before they make it out of the property.

As Wynn states in the Friess piece, Sundays could turn out to be a problem. You're going to have tons of people funneling out of one large space and into multiple, successively smaller spaces before they can get out on to Harmon. You're going to have a bottle-neck. And what about Wynn's solution? Well, from what we can tell, it looks like he's advocating that Cosmo remove the northern wall of the property and have exiting cab and valet guests make their way along that small alleyway between the Bellagio marquee/people mover and the Jockey Club. The problem with that plan? Said alleyway is already being used by the Jockey Club to handle their arriving and departing senior citizens and NIMBYs guests. Knowing that, it seems like a fairly remote possibility that the Cosmo's going to be able to wrestle away the rights of way needed to use that alley.

So, when the dust settles and everything's said and done, where are we? As of right now, the Cosmo is simply going to have to keep their porte cochére the way it is and we're just going to have to wait and see how it works out. Maybe John Unwin and his team have come up with a way to ensure traffice snarls don't occur on busy check-in/out days. Perhaps they can move valet pick-up to the other side of the porte cochére and ensure that only taxis will have to deal with the u-turn mishigas. Or perhaps they could create dedicated taxi and valet-pick up lanes on the other side of that u-turn. We don't know.

What we do know, though, is that Steve Wynn is a man who knows - the loss of Encore's original porte cochére aside - how to manage the traffic that comes in and out of a resort. And if he says you might have a problem, well it's time you start looking around and try to carve an auxiliary valet out of some corner of your property.

Tagged: steve wynn   cosmopolitan   


Comments & Discussion:

It'd be nice if The Harmon was open. I could just walk across the street.

Clusterfrack. Ignore my tweets, I am now concerned. They can't get through as JC will not allow it. Frack.

When I stayed at Vdara over March Madness weekend, Harmon was a ghost town all weekend. The valet/drop-off/pick-up area at Vdara and Aria was never more than a few cabs. The same scene at Venetian Saturday morning was like trying to get out of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway over Memorial Day. My point here is that the hotel has two things working in it's favor:
1.) It's not located on Las Vegas Blvd. No doubt the traffic on Harmon will pick up, but you're not coming in/out of the craziest traffic in America.
2.) The size of the hotel and competing entrances/exits. Cosmo is the only one loading/unloading near here. It's not like anyone from Bellagio is going to jaunt over to Cosmopolitan to pick up a cab. Or drop their car off at Cosmo and run to Aria.

I'm not saying I'm smarter than Steve Wynn, but have you seen how hard it is to turn out of the IP onto the strip on a Friday night? It cannot possibly be worse than that.

We have to keep in mind, this was designed to be mostly a condo project. That is a very different project, and doesn't have 3000 rooms turning over every 3-4 days. On Sundays and Thursdays these big 3000 room hotels usually turn about 2000 of their rooms over. I'm sure this garage would have worked fine with condo owners who don't come and go so often. It will be interesting to see how this all goes.

There's a different class of people who stay at Imperial Palace. They are mostly WalMart people who don't mind waiting in long lines to buy a crappy product. The Cosmopolitan is competing for the Wynn demographic. Many people in that demographic throw a temper tantrum if they have to wait two seconds for anything. Wynn is right. Cosmopolitan needs to work out a deal with the Jockey Club or they won't be getting a lot of repeat business from the hoighty toighty crowd.

Wonder what it would have cost, if at the begining, they bought out the owners of the JC, tore it down, used all the land and did the job right?

Chuck52, The Jockey Club is owned by the tenants. From what I've read, Cosmopolitan would have had to come to a monetary agreement with each individual tenant. Building around the Jockey Club was the only practical alternative.

Also, let's keep in mind -- Steve Wynn isn't just being altruistic with his comments here. He owns a competing property, and it's in his best interests to talk some smack about the Cosmopolitan.

I don't know that the Cosmo will be a serious threat to his business, but it does seem to be going after some of the same market segments as Wynncore. And it offers some features that Wynn doesn't have, like the terraces. I also think you can make the argument that Cosmo is in a better location on the Strip.

So while I certainly respect his opinion and (from the little I know) can see how traffic could be an issue, let's remember that The Steve might just have a little bit of an ulterior motive here as well.

Trump is a perfect example of how a condo designed porte cochere is too constrained for weekend visitors. Combine that with being underground like Palazzo and this is going to be a major issue. There is hope that the scaling is large enough to work (see THEhotel). Also in Cosmo's favor are the traffic light and pedestrian overpass at Harmon and LVB. I believe there is another traffic light on Harmon near the entrance that is not yet activated (maybe for the fire depart?).

When was the last time Steve Wynn actually DROVE his own car?

As near I can tell from the plans above and some Google Earth sloothing, I can't disagree with Wynn. It does look like it could be a monumental clusterfuck. At least if they could exit into the Jockey Club alley it would only be one-way without the hard 180 degree turn.

The continued existence of the Jockey Club is sufficient evidence to me that no deal will be made with the Jockey Club. Those old farts are dug in deeper than a platoon of Zergs.

Send in the Marines! Walkers will be littering the pavement in no time.

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