Inside Gaming: North Strip needs a face lift

11 November 2015

Recent events surrounding the Strip's troubled northern end are short-term fixes to a problem that can only be resolved with a pair of implosions and a construction effort not witnessed in more than a half-decade.

The Strip's line of demarcation seems to be Encore Resort at Wynn Las Vegas. Other than SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and Circus Circus Hotel Casino, the north section of Las Vegas Boulevard is a mix of small retail malls, empty land, unfinished developments and closed properties.

A dedicated transformation is needed to revive the nearly one-mile stretch. A few bandages won't do the trick.

If much rumored development projects come to fruition — namely the $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority's planned $2.3 billion complex — then SLS's recent deal to re-brand one its hotel towers as the W Las Vegas could be viewed some day as the turning point for the financially challenged property.

Nothing moves quickly when it comes to the north Strip.

Tuesday's news that tourism officials took an initial step toward the eventual demolition of the shuttered Riviera is a welcome sign.

However, the 60-year-old building's date with the implosion experts could be more than a year after the LVCVA actually purchased and closed the property.

Also, if Las Vegas Sands Corp. has its way, the conversion of the Riviera site into a state-of-the-art convention facility will be halted. The owner of the Sands Expo and Convention Center, The Venetian Las Vegas and The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino opposes public funding for the project. The company controlled by Sheldon Adelson believes government money should not be used to build possible competition to the private sector.

Meanwhile, Resorts World Las Vegas continues be an enigma.

Malaysia-based Genting Berhad acquired the 87-acre former Echelon development in 2013, five years after Boyd Gaming Corp. stopped its $4.8 billion project on land that once housed the Stardust Resort and Casino. Genting was found suitable by state gaming regulators last year and held a ceremonial groundbreaking event for Resorts World in May.

Then, it all went quiet.

"Construction is progressing, albeit extremely slowly," Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight told investors last month after touring the Strip.

Genting hired a contractor to finish the half-built parking garage, but work on the major portion of the complex won't be started until next year.

Resorts World has been compared to CityCenter, the megacomplex opened by MGM Resorts International in 2009. A year later, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas became the last greenfield Strip hotel-casino to be completed.

"It's our understanding, there are roughly 20 to 40 workers on site daily (at Resorts World)," McKnight said. "As a point of reference, CityCenter had around 8,000 construction workers at the peak of construction."

The biggest enigma is the shuttered and unfinished Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which has been a north Strip eyesore since construction was halted on the once-$3 billion resort in 2009.

The hulking wreckage will get some window dressing via an agreement between Clark County and the building's owner, billionaire investor Carl Icahn. A decorative tarp will be designed to cover up the worst-looking portions of the 59-story building's lower levels that face the Strip.

But let's be realistic. Icahn, a corporate raider who bought the Fontainebleau out of bankruptcy for $150 million in 2010, is never going to restart construction on the building that is 70% complete. He's already sold the property's unique furnishings, specially made escalators and other equipment, including a construction crane that sat atop the tower for five years.

A few years ago, executives from a casino company looking at acquiring the site from Icahn said resuming construction and repairing the damage to the Fontainebleau's interior would have a higher budget than the actually purchase price.

In other words, for the north Strip's overall health, the Fontainebleau needs to be demolished.

SLS Las Vegas officials would welcome some type of resolution to the Fontainebleau mess, for the LVCVA to tear down the Riviera Hotel and Casino, and for Resorts World to get underway. The critical mass the projects would bring to the area alone would boost SLS's business.

The agreement with Starwood Resorts to transition the 289-room Lux Tower into an upscale W Las Vegas will bring a different customer to the north Strip resort when the renovation is completed next year. SLS Las Vegas is better known for its restaurants than its casino, a distinction property president Scott Kreeger hopes to change.

Related Links
Nevada Online Gambling
Circus Circus Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Details
SAHARA Las Vegas Details
Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Gaming Vendor Information
Boyd Gaming Gaming Vendor Information
The Venetian Las Vegas Details
Wynn Las Vegas Details
The Palazzo Resort Hotel Casino Details
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas Details
Encore Resort Details
Fontainebleau Las Vegas Details
Resorts World Las Vegas Details


Copyright GamingWire. All rights reserved.
Featured Vendors
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
GamblersPick
Dable Advisory & Consulting Services
Advisory & consulting services services for Indigenous entrepreneurs, businesses & organizations
GamblersPick
Share & Read other players' reviews! A top player community-driven portal for online casinos.
Texas Slots & Gaming
Casino City Press
Texas Slots & Gaming
Wholesale gaming reimagined. Texas Slots & Gaming is your sustainable gaming partner.
Casino City Press
A leading publisher and distributor of casino and gaming business data and market research reports.
OCR - Online Casino Reports
TribalHub
OCR - Online Casino Reports
Delivers highly targeted casino traffic from over 70 countries! Get your casino listed today at OCR!
TribalHub
25th Annual TribalNet Conference Sept 16-19, 2024 Westgate Las Vegas
Casino Schedule Ease
Slot Machines Unlimited
Casino Schedule Ease
Full Featured & customizable for the complex scheduling needs of table games & other casino depts
Slot Machines Unlimited
Exporter of IGT, Williams, AVP, Trimline, Aristocrat, Konami, Bally, & parts over 20 yrs experience
Players Pal
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
Players Pal
Revolutionize the way you connect with your casino players with the Players Pal mobile app
Oklahoma Indian Gaming Association (OIGA) Conference
The biggest little show in Indian gaming! Save the date: August 12-14, 2024 Oklahoma City
Top One Tech Limited
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Top One Tech Limited
Global Touch solution partner of choice, 10+ years OEM manufacturing, 100,000+ units application
Rymax Marketing Services, Inc.
Leader in creating award winning player & employee loyalty programs & events proven to increase ROI
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Shenzhen ZhengYuanTai Technology Co., Ltd.
14 years experienced gaming display manufacturer: open frame, curved, and halo monitors
Betson Imperial Parts & Service
Your one stop shop for all your gaming and OEM needs!
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Sunkist Graphics, Inc.
Specializing in the creation of best-of-breed gaming graphics - slot glass, sign faces, and more
Regulatory Management Counselors, PC
Over 45 years of experience serving the legal and regulatory needs of casino industry clients
Imagine This
Casino Network
Imagine This
Imagine This #1 Source for Player Gifts. Over $50 million in stock ready to ship! Let us serve you!
Casino Network
20+ years experience selling refurbished slot machines, parts & glass for all major brands
AmericanChecked
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
AmericanChecked
Background checks for the gaming industry with key & non-key packages & fingerprinting solutions
Talisman Group Creators of EZ Baccarat
With over 800 tables in 150+ casinos, EZ Baccarat is the number one brand in baccarat.
House Tech Ads
House Tech Ads
Drive quality casino-gambling traffic to your brand from over 70 countries from our premium assets!


Your Guide to 14,931 Gaming Industry Suppliers