Welcome to the first week of a new Sunday column at TravelZork. This will be a synopsis and analysis of recent news, rumors, openings and closings in Las Vegas. This column won’t cover everything in Las Vegas but will analyze and speculate about some of the bigger bits of news we see or hear about.
North Vegas Strip
There has been a lot of mixed emotions for the possible development of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. One day there’s excitement about possibility and another day there’s sadness for the current reality. The Vegas Strip has generally been considered to extend to the Stratosphere but that changed for many people since numerous casino-hotels have closed or been demolished once you pass Wynn Las Vegas.
There was excitement for the development of north end of the Vegas Strip when Resorts World, Alon, Lucky Dragon were announced. That news was followed by a rumor that Fontainebleau had a buyer and would be sold early this year. Not so fast my friend. Alon is on hold due to difficulties acquiring financing, Lucky Dragon is rumored to have halted construction due to lack of funds, Resorts World has barely pushed a rock on their land, Fontainebleau is still on the market.
Visitation to Las Vegas continues to rise and that should be good for existing casino-resorts, but this kind of progress takes time. We’ll just have to have some patience while we wait and see about the developments of the north end of the Vegas Strip.
On The Market
Meanwhile, Bloomberg is reporting that MGM Resorts International is close to selling Crystals Mall at City Center while Palms and Aliante are exploring the possibility of a sale. Business conditions seem to be improving enough to possibly help existing businesses. We’ll see how this translates to future developments discussed on the north end of the Vegas Strip.
Even though construction is on hold plans for Alon continue. They recently submitted a request to Clark County to expand the property. The request isn’t very interesting but it made me curious to look at their plans for the casino again. The actual casino is set to occupy less than 30,000 square feet of floor space. This would make the Alon casino one of the smallest casinos on the Vegas Strip. The 27,776 square foot casino would be similar to size as Four Queens and Hooters and almost double the size of The Cromwell. Furthermore, Alon’s casino will be much smaller than nearby casinos across the street at Wynn and Encore. The casino floor at Wynn is more than four times the size while Encore is more than twice the size. The casino will be so small that sports bettors should not expect a sports book when Alon opens.
Room Renovations For Caesars Entertainment Hotels
In news that may actually have an impact on your upcoming trip, Caesars Entertainment has announced that they will be renovating 5,000 rooms in Las Vegas. Last year Caesars Entertainment renovated 150 rooms at Planet Hollywood and this year they’ll be renovating another 1,294 rooms and suites. You might remember that Caesars Palace recently renovated the Roman Tower to become the Julius Tower and now all 948 rooms in the Augustus Tower will get a makeover. The South tower at Harrah’s and approximately 1,320 rooms at Paris will also be renovated.
All of these room upgrades will include a full makeover featuring new bathrooms, technology and soft goods like bedding.
Renovated hotel rooms are a relatively quick way to increase revenue. Last year Caesars Entertainment reported that The Linq Hotel saw an increase in their average daily room rate of 62% from 2014. The renovations will take place throughout the year with no end date announced for any individual renovations.
New Gift Shop At The Linq!
Speaking of The Linq, one of the largest retail outlets in the Promenade (aka the mall), Kitson, closed last year but just reopened. Vegas Bright is reporting that the space has been turned into a gift shop. My spidey senses say that this is what you fill an empty space with when you can’t find someone to pay rent. Good thing there are so many bars that need to sell booze at The Linq to generate revenue or that space might have become another CVS or Walgreens.
The Still Opens At The Mirage
The changes at The Mirage may never end. The Still Crafts, Drafts & Eats opens this week, just in time for March Madness which is one of the biggest events of the year. The Still will take over the old Revolution Lounge space. The new bar and restaurant will have more than 20 TV’s to watch the games and 50 beers. Beer and sports sounds like fun. You can find more information on The Still here.
Top Golf Is Almost Here
Top Golf is less than 12 weeks away from opening at MGM Grand. The concept of Top Golf seems pretty cool to me but I’m a sports dork (sports zork?) and open to any sports related ideas. The thing that has made me really curious about Top Golf opening at MGM Grand is that I have not heard a single negative about the concept from anyone. My circle of friends and acquaintances often have a contrarian point of view and I’ve heard nothing even remotely bad about Top Golf. I’ll find out first hand soon enough.
Sigma Derby Is Alive!
The biggest news of everything in Las Vegas casinos this week has been about the Sigma Derby game at MGM Grand. This is only 1 of 2 Sigma Derby games in Las Vegas (the other is at The D) and fans of the game are more passionate than just about anything anywhere. Earlier this week it was rumored that the game was removed from MGM Grand. Then it was returned but not operating. According to the Sigma Derby group on facebook, MGM Grand is fixing the game and hopes to have it operational by the beginning of March Madness (this week). If you love Sigma Derby you should become a member of this public group.