Throwback: The W Las Vegas
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Eight years ago this week, at the height of the building boom, Starwood Hotels announced W Las Vegas. The W was planned to be the linchpins of the burgeoning "Harmon Corridor" - a spoke like, eastward extension of The Strip. Construction got as far as clearing most of parcel and erecting construction fending wrapped in quirky W brand messages. The plywood has since been repainted black, but contains a sad, legally mandated message.
The Harmon Corridor would've extended from the front door of City Center and Cosmopolitan and extend eastwards to the Hard Rock which, at the time, was on the verge of capitalizing on its immense popularity with the just announced HRH expansion. Between them would've been Starwood's W and Las Ramblas a luxury property attached to actor George Clooney, creating brand new new neighborhood of sparking modern luxury properties focused at the higher end of the marketplace.
Of these properties, only the HRH expansion survived, but not without hobbling the Hard Rock and sending it into a tailspin of changing ownership that has only in the last year been righted and set forth on focused trajectory.
The buildings are certainly familiar looking and fit perfectly in the design zeitgeist. Glass curtain wall of varied width stripes in blue hues (Mandarin Oriental, HRH) cladding pancaked boxes of varying thicknesses (Vdara, Revel) and an oblong trapezoidal showpiece building which uses dimension to outwit perception of scale (Mandarin Oriental, Veer, Cosmopolitan). These properties are built right to the street with mixed use thoroughfares, square glass atriums straight from the Apple Store aesthetic and some kooky shaped glass exterior walls and a ton of rooftop pools.
Sadly, none of this ever progressed beyond images and ideas.
Can you imagine how the rest of the Strip would've changed had the W and Las Ramblas both been completed? Cosmopolitan and ARIA would've opened into a crowded marketplace, vying for the same clientele. Planet Hollywood and Bally's may have seen their fortunes rise by being luxury adjacent. Bellagio would've slipped from top joint in town to being on the cusp of middle-tier. Wynn and forthcoming Encore would've seemed like a world away. Nobody would've funded the Tropicana renovations and the north Strip might have been in even worse of a state than it is now. Would the Downtown resurgence have moved to Harmon Adjacent?
We'll never know... or will we?
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