Thanks to mike_ch who is back with another Las Vegas Strip development/construction update.
The photos are here: http://www.ratevegas.com/photo/gallery/mikech
Keep reading after the jump!
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It's been a long time since I've done a really big update, and as the we reach the months of triple-digit temperatures, they'll probably become increasingly rare. However, today (Wednesday) was a warm but nice day after a string of 90s-100s, so let's walk around town. We'll walk down the east side of the street from the Wynn parking lot, cross over at Bellagio, and gawk at the outside of Planet Hollywood on our way to Mandalay Bay.
Wynn: A chunk of the slot floor by Red 8 and the high-limit area is emptied for a renovation or remodel. Not much else happening. They really need to change the carpets in the parking garage elevators, they're all really grungy. I considered eating at the buffet for lunch but it's located close to the Encore site and you can hear the rumbling of construction present over everything, and decided to walk it towards Harrah's instead.
Encore: You can check Hunter's article for the details on this place. I know nobody and see nothin' so I can't tell you much about what they're really doing at this site, except that there's not much construction going on for a comfortably warm Wednesday. Most all the work and noise was coming from back by the golf course and buffet area.
Trump: The top five levels need glass and the crown on the roof needs to be built. Otherwise, good to go.
Echelon: A large pile of dirt is located in the area where the south entrance and shops used to be. One lone signboard (the kind you put a guy on a ladder to stick giant letters onto) from the original property remains in the southern corner of the strip frontage. As far as I can tell, it's the last standing piece of the Stardust. How long will it last? Will it remain to eventually be integrated into the new property!? The audience twiddles their thumbs in anticipation!
Palazzo: It's finally and completely beginning to look like a full resort. The northern side, which has long looked like a bunch of beams even when the rest of the place was much further along, is getting it's exterior work done finally. The backside (east-facing) of the tower is much farther along on the exterior than the strip-facing side.
Venetian: I never checked back on this, but the most obvious changes to the clocktower from last year's fire has been repaired. You can see it clearly if you get anywhere near it, and the whole face of the tower as a whole looks like a patchwork of different shades thanks to the Vegas sun and no doubt the number of banners that have been hung on the sides. Oh well, I guess the real thing in St Mark's Square is pretty worn-looking too, huh?
Bellagio: When I saw the concept art for the summer conservatory display, I thought the people behind these displays had finally gone over the top. WIth a ferris wheel centerpiece replacing the old Eagle/Bell display and a classic road trip theme, it seemed to be too much. In fact, in some areas they almost did go too far (those accents on the wheel covered in the same shimmery stuff from disco balls?) but this display is fun and has a few subtle places where you can find the usual gardening skill on display. While the actual botany on display isn't as impressive as the last display, older folks will certainly have visions of the past with the "Route 66" theme providing nostalgia in every corner: a roadside produce stand, a children's lemonade stand, and a classic Corvette placed alongside some restored old gas pumps. The ferris wheel itself doesn't move, it's seats are loaded with sunflowers (which are also plenty in count at the ground level, too.) Some things didn't quite match up with the concept art (the Bellagio B on the wheel was originally supposed to be a mossy covered design similar to the frog and watering can of the last display) but overall it's impressive and less shocking than last fall's model train display.
In news you definitely care about, my gambling experiences at Bellagio are still hilariously bad. We're talking worse luck than Tony Soprano at the Borgata's craps table. Let's leave while we still have enough money for cab fare back to Wynn.
Planet-H: The facade of Planet Hopscotch is still coming along. The Aladdin TV screen and marquee area is now just a fairly pedestrian piece of the overall screen. The big Planet Hamsters globe we thought would be out front (and I swear I saw one day behind the hotel from the monorail) is not out there, but I don't yet see where they could put something that big without it taking up a lot of the sidewalk. A huge TV display has been added over where Commander's Palace used to be, although it too is advertising the Miracle Mall instead of Planet H4x0Rz. A couple big poles have been stuck up into the air, and they've put a temporary sign up on it telling you that Planet Hammertime is open despite the mess going on outside. Maybe they'll put their big marquee screen up there? Things are on course and I'm expecting Planet Hunter will have their facade completed by August barring everyone stopping due to the heat or some other freak event.
Cosmopolitan: Hey, look ma, progress! There's now a whole bunch of steel coming out of that big pit they dug, but it's hard to get a good view of it from Bellagio and along the sidewalk I couldn't really get pictures because I was constantly being harassed by porn slappers. Sorry.
CityCenter: There's been discussion on the sawtooth edges along the freeway side of the hotel building already, the front of it hasn't changed as much. Mandarin Oriental is already starting to loom over the nearby CVS, and something seems to be going on back where Vdara should be. With all the footprints in place, this property is almost starting to look a bit cramped and I wonder if they're really going to build everything they say they will (at least one tower [Harmon] still isn't available for purchase yet, and I know there's pretty much nothing where it should be yet.) I dunno, they may pull it off, this is just my outsider's speculation. It's just that between the increasing construction and the resurrection of THEplace in the county planning agenda I'm willing to fire my mouth off and suggest there's a remote possibility that a CC tower could be axed. Please don't shoot me, I'm fragile.
Monte Carlo: Diablo's Cantina is coming along. I'm still not sure how this thing is supposed to link up to the main property as the blocked off entrance is still there, although accessibility is limited with the restaurant in the way. There isn't much inside but some of the exterior work is up, perhaps a test since it's only such a small part of the building.
Excalibur: At long last, the walls around Dick's Last Resort are gone. Basically, the construction work is done, and the exterior is basically done awaiting final touches, but the whole interior needs to be furnished and decorated still. I'm certainly surprised Dick's has taken as long as it has, and I'm sort of surprised they brought the walls down in this state. I've never seen other operators like Station take down walls until the interior is decorated and all that's left to do is stock the bar. Dick's is a chain, so maybe they're just waiting for the interior elements to arrive from headquarters or something.
Luxor: The old high-limit area in the center has been walled up for some time now. The upstairs dining room area has been partially de-masked. Half of the room in-between the old Isis and Sacred Sea Rooms restaurants is visible and the SSRoom itself is also visible. Both rooms are in the middle of massive renovation, as everything including the ceiling is out and you can see the HVAC tubes and pipes and some hanging lights all visible. There's major work going on up there. The Criss Angel production office in the Galleria is now Luxor @ Home, a home furnishings outlet. It's barely been open and it's already having a 40% off sale. I took a look around and saw regular stuff (pillows, towels, etc) but I don't know what at all this has to do with the Luxor, as I didn't ask what the connection is. I'm guessing it's the same stuff you'll see in other stores, only 60% more expensive (see also: 40% off sale.)
In other Luxor news, we now have new names for new establishments: The bar in the new high-limit area is called the Hi-Bar. The pick-up bar coming to the old center hi-limit area will be called Liquidity. They're also planning to put in an ultralounge called Flight, and I'm guessing that's either going in at the old Hamada of Japan location, or will be replacing the old Nile Bar and nearby trinket shops. Either way, Flight sounds like a place I'd expect to see at Mirage as a partner of Jet. But, I don't get to name these things.
Mandalay Bay: Oh thank heavens, the old Vintage RA shop that sold women's clubbing clothing (as in, clothing that barely hides anything and is available only in small sizes) has returned. Yeah, they've called it Fashion101, but it's the same place with a different name on the wall. I was afraid that all the customers at LAX wouldn't have an emergency outlet to buy trendy apparel that all but the most fashionably-sized people would look stupid in, but my fears are no more. Meanwhile, the walled up area of the Mandalay casino is still walled up, but they've decorated it so it doesn't seem so much like a plain blank wall. It's hard to get people to bet the big bucks when they're crammed up against a bare white floor to ceiling wall, after all.
I guess I should go ahead and give props to somebody at Mandalay Bay for fixing that Shark Reef/Border Grille sign that I complained about a couple columns ago. I haven't been able to get my camera out into town until now, but I checked it some weeks ago and noticed fresh new lettering.
I don't know about you, but my feet hurt! Thanks, Strip, I'll be back the next time it's not so hot that I melt!