There Goes The Neighborhood
Wynn Las Vegas and the Boom (2005-2015)
It's happening. Like NOW. EN. OH. Double U, NOW.
'What's happening?' You ask? Take a look around folks, the Vegas you know, love and slum through is gonna be gone before you know it. Like Joan Rivers, (or Frank Marino, your choice) Vegas is about to get an(other) extreme makeover on par with the early 90's re-deco jobby. We're not tawkin' new carpet and toilet bowls, we're tawkin' the whole schmear.
With the impending premiere of Wynn Las Vegas, North Strip real estate prices have skyrocketed by the square foot and the powers that be are itching to capitalize on the new found value in their portfolios. Right now, three new megaresorts are planned for the strip, two classic joints are about to be 're-branded' and overhauled, and four (+/-) may be imploded to make way for something newer and more spiffalicious. If that weren't enough, high-priced condo towers are popping up like mushrooms at a Grateful Dead concert. So what's goin on here? Lotsa shit. Grab a beer and settle in for the story.
Much like the the grand opening of The Mirage in 1989, Steve Wynn's latest Opus Wynn Las Vegas is poised to kick off a building boom on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. No less than 3 casinos are eyeballing the possibilities of implosion/resurrection to take advantage of the new lease on life offered by WLV neighborship. The Venetian, feeling a little impending amenities pressure from the WLV is building its own gonzo spectacular, The Palazzo, directly between itself and the Wynn. The Palazzo, a mammoth botique addition to The Venetian, is scheduled to open in 2007 and will be a 50 floor, 3,025 all-luxury-suite megaresort that will cater to the Bellagio/Venetian/Wynn Las Vegas set. It'll be garnished with spas, shopping districts, signature restaurants, a pool deck and a theater which will house a yet-to-be-announced broadway or production show ('Sheldon Get Your Gun?').
With all this high-ticket construction going on in the north end of the strip, there's no doubt that the skyline on surrounding properties is going to change.
Phil Ruffin's Frontier is the most obvious choice for an upgrade, and with the arrival of high-rent high-rise condo-mania courtesy of the Trump International Tower parked out back of the Frontier, expect an announcement within the next few months. The Frontier, for all its rustic charm, is essentially dead money on expensive property. Granted, cowboys from all over the universe congregate outside of Gilleys for its 'Bikini Bull Riding & Mud Wrestling' extravaganzas, but beating quarters out of chaw chewin' twenty-somethings in Stetsons and Wranglers can only boost the bottom line so much. What the Frontier lacks are amenities, SERIOUS amenities that will elevate it from a strip grind joint to a world class casino. In 2000, Ruffin announced the impending implosion of the Frontier and its replacement - a San Francisco themed joint entitled 'City By The Bay'. Robert Goulet was even announced as its showroom headliner. Somewhere down the line, Ruffin decided to shelve the San Francisco idea and the Frontier has been subject to many unfulfilled rumors in the ensuing years. Ruffin has recently announced that he will begin to transform the Frontier in 2006 into a 3,000-room resort-casino. With Donald Trump moving into the condo towers out back, expect the Frontier to be levelled as soon as Ruffin picks a date and an architect.