Unprecedented Growth on the Las Vegas Strip Comes with Some Sacrifice
Over the past six decades, the Las Vegas Strip has grown from a few casinos in the middle of the desert to the iconic stretch of glitz and glamour it’s known as today.
And it continues to grow.
In fact, news broke in the Nevada Independent this week that the vintage Tropicana Las Vegas may be demolished to make way for a $1.5 billion baseball stadium with a retractable roof for the Oakland A’s.
In the meantime, several projects–from shopping, dining, and entertainment centers to resorts–are underway to transform the famous skyline again.
Here Are Some Of The Newest Developments On The Las Vegas Strip
Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Finally!
Talk about building up anticipation. Fontainebleau Las Vegas has been an on-again-off-again project since 2006. Now, it’s finally set to make its global debut in December 2023.
Located at the north end of the Strip, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center expansion, Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a luxury 67-story hotel, gaming, entertainment, and meeting destination with 3,644 luxury hotel rooms, 550,000 square feet of convention space, and a world-class collection of restaurants and shops, pool experiences, vibrant nightlife options, and spa and wellness offerings.
“Fontainebleau Las Vegas’ unique vertical design gives us great creative flexibility when it comes to our retail space,” says Fontainebleau Development President Brett Mufson in a press release. “We’re incorporating other elements of the Fontainebleau brand into our space, making for a seamless guest experience and generating unprecedented exposure and foot traffic for our retail partners.”
The property was originally occupied by the Thunderbird Hotel and Casino in 1948, later renamed the Silverbird, then El Rancho, before closing in 1992.
Hard Rock Means Hard Knocks for Mirage Volcano
The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas–not to be confused with the Hard Rock Hotel which formerly stood on Harmon Avenue, off the Strip, and is now Virgin Las Vegas–will soon replace the Mirage Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
It will also dramatically transform the Las Vegas skyline with the addition of a Guitar-shaped hotel tower, adjacent to Las Vegas Blvd.
Hard Rock International (HRI) assumed operational control of the property as of December 19 when all 3,500 team members at The Mirage were welcomed to the 45,000 global Hard Rock family.
“We are excited to create an integrated resort on The Strip that will make this legendary entertainment community proud,” said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International, in a press release.
The 3,044-room casino resort will continue to operate as The Mirage Hotel & Casino until the renovation and rebranding of the property to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas is complete. It will continue to offer dining and entertainment, including Cirque Du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE through 2023.
There are no plans to close The Mirage or to lay off any of the team members.
Hard Rock expects to release details of the rebranded and reimagined resort, its new features and attractions, and its development timeline at the end of 2023.
Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat closed in late 2022, and the remaining dolphins were relocated. In the meantime, you may want to visit the resort’s free Strip-front volcano attraction before it erupts for the last time.
Strip Malls Transform Into Retail Experiences
The Cable Center Shops are no more. The rundown strip mall, on Las Vegas Boulevard (across from Aria), was knocked down in March to make room for a new flagship retail, entertainment, and dining experience–in other words, another spot where tourists can spend lots of money.
The mall was once home to Utopia nightclub in the 1990s (where this writer has many fond and fuzzy memories) and more recently housed a Fatburger and other budget-friendly food options.
New York-based Gindi acquired the Cable Center Shops and eateries in 2019 for $172 million. The company also owns the neighboring Hawaiian Marketplace, which is shuttered and soon to be knocked down.
Across the way, a four-story shopping mall, called 63 Las Vegas, is opening within MGM Resorts International’s CityCenter complex and is currently accepting leasing applications. The two-acre site at the southwestern corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue was once home to the defunct The Harmon but structural defects prevented that CityCenter hotel and eyesore from ever opening.
Construction on 63 Las Vegas started in 2021. Stores are expected to start opening by the end of 2023.
Another ground-up development is planned for a roughly 6-acre property north of the Hawaiian Marketplace, at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. Owned by Texas billionaire Tilman Fertitta, it is expected to become a 43-story, 2,420-room hotel-casino.
Hotel Tower Headed to Paris
Almost 10 years after the world-famous topless showgirl extravaganza, Jubilee, closed in 2015, its eponymous hotel tower at the former Bally’s Hotel (now Horseshoe) is packing up and moving to Paris. Sort of.
The Jubilee Tower at the new Horseshoe Las Vegas will be renovated and transformed into the new Versailles Tower and will reopen at Paris Las Vegas this fall (thanks to a handy pedestrian bridge).
Featuring a new exterior and a new interior, the renovation will introduce 756 redesigned luxury guestrooms in late 2023 and the bridge, connecting the Versailles Tower to the existing Paris resort in early 2024.
“The addition of the Versailles Tower makes Paris one of the largest resorts in the heart of The Strip,” said Sean McBurney, Regional President of Caesars Entertainment in a press release. “The interior and exterior will be completely reimagined and transformed into some of the best rooms in Las Vegas. When it opens this fall, our guests will have easy access to the incredible restaurants and gaming options they have grown to love at Paris Las Vegas.”
The Versailles Tower will feature some of the largest standard rooms on The Strip, starting at 436 square feet. In addition, select guestrooms will offer new 55-square-foot balconies with unmatched views of The Strip as part of the renovation.
Horseshoe Las Vegas, formerly Bally’s Las Vegas, celebrated its rebranding in March, infusing new energy at the southeast corner of one of the busiest intersections of the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, across from the Bellagio and its iconic fountains, and diagonal to Caesars Las Vegas.