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Changes are always afoot in Las Vegas -- especially in the resort industry.
One of Fremont Street's landmarks is gone.
A new arena looks to be going up just off the Strip.
And is one of the area's newer properties on the shopping block?
If anybody knows, it's Scott Roeben.
He's editor and founder of VitalVegas.
On the Las Vegas Club along Fremont Street:
There is one hotel tower left. The façade just came down, and one hotel tower just came down. Everything else on that block is gone -- from the Glitter Gulch strip club to Mermaids. There is one more tower to come down. That will presumably be done maybe in January.
There will be a bit of a break and then the new resort will be going up. I don't think it will be themed. It is going to be very pool-centric, from what I've heard. There is going to be several pools. It's going to be going for a younger demographic than typically what's gone on downtown.
It's going to be a full-blown, Strip-style resort with all those amenities that people want and need from spa -- the nightclub is still a question mark -- but restaurants and all those other offerings. I would say it's going to be akin to Golden Nugget in terms of quality.
On a proposal from Las Vegas Sands to build a new arena near the Strip:
I think they're seeing the success of [the] T-Mobile [Arena]. I think they're seeing that live entertainment is driving a lot of visitation to Las Vegas. I don't think they want to be left out of that.
This is a serious venue. They're describing it as the biggest venue -- I think in the world -- that is built specifically for live entertainment. That's a big deal. I think they want to be in the mix.
As these bigger acts start to come to Vegas because we have these big venues that can handle these giant artists, I think they want to be in the mix on that.
On rumors of MGM Resorts buying the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas:*
A source -- a very reliable source who seems to have access to a lot of information about these deals -- as said that MGM Resorts is looking at the Cosmopolitan. It may be that they look at any property that has expressed interest, or is open to those overtures.
The Cosmopolitan seems a very good fit, even if only for the geography. It is surrounded by MGM Resorts' properties. And Cosmo is now a very viable property. A profitable Las Vegas casino. It's a great time to look at it. It may be just an initial interest, but I'm hearing it's a little further down the road than that.
On the future of the Hard Rock Hotel:
I had heard that the Hard Rock would be sold several months ago. At first, it looked like it might be the Seminole Tribe. They have the Hard Rock brand, but now I'm hearing, there is a billionaire [interested]. The Las Vegas Sun actually reported that Richard Branson is interested in getting into the Las Vegas market. So, if you connect those dots, I think that's a real possibility.
On the Fontainebleau:
I think one of the reasons [selling the property] took so long -- it wasn't the purchase price, I think a lot of companies expressed interest in that -- I think the stumbling block was: what's the next step? Do you have the assets or the partnerships to actually open the thing?
I think that's moving forward. There have been bodies on the site. I think they're in an assessment phase right now, but I suspect that they are gathering their resources and their partners to have somebody manage the hotel, do all of those day to day things. Obviously, an investment firm isn't going to do all that. You've got to go out and find partners.
On Caesars Palace's plans for expansion:
I think there is quite a bit of space. If you look at Caesars Palace right up front -- it's kind of between this new Hell's Kitchen restaurant that Gordon Ramsay is doing and the hotel tower behind it. There's a big open space there. There's a tent. I think "Absinthe" is going to move and I think they're going to build a tower there.
There is also some additional space up in front of that property. It's kind of a parking lot that is useless space. So, they're looking at really making that underutilized space profitable. They literally opened that Samsung store on their fountains, so they clearly have the idea of making idle space profitable.
On the impact of the 1 October shooting:
It's a mixed bag. Mandalay Bay, obviously, had a huge number of cancellations up front. I hear that that recovered, but they recently cut back on hours and schedules for their employees. You look at their room rates and it's substantial. So, it's hard to really tell what's going on. If you're charging $300 a night, it doesn't make the case that the property is suffering.
A few mid-sized conventions have -- and this is Vegas overall, not specific to Mandalay Bay -- changed their plans, but for the most part, the average occupancy rebounded within a week. I haven't heard of any kind of depression that has fallen after the shooting. I think people are cognizant of it, but I think people still want to come to Vegas.
On New Year's Eve:
There is going to be a very big show of law enforcement. I think they're really thinking it through, and obviously, sadly learned a lot of things from the incident at Mandalay Bay. I think they're doing things. They're installing bollards along the Strip as a day to day security measure.
They're doing things downtown as well with barriers. There's going to be a huge effort. Law enforcement has really thought through -- not only how do you make people safe but how do you make them feel safe because that's really the key to it.
I think people are enthusiastic about New Year's Eve. I don't get the feeling that there's going to be any kind of major drop off. I think people understand that random things happen, but for the most part precautions are in place to make them safe.
*Regarding this part of the conversation, MGM Resorts declined to comment. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas gave the following statement to Nevada Public Radio: "The Cosmopolitan does not have a comment at this time."
Scott Roeben, editor & founder, VitalVegas
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