Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

July 12, 2009

Harrah's to Build 'Street 'o Shops' Near Flamingo

Posted by Hunter

Harrah's latest plan is to take the dirty, smelly alley between The Flamingo and O'Shea's and turn it into a 'collection of about 20 restaurants and bars' with a giant ferris wheel type contraption at the end.

The LV Sun has an article and renderings:

Let's try and recall how many different plans and schemes that Harrah's has floated in the past few years. Also, hard to forget the numerous giant-ferris-wheel type projects that people have announced.


Read archived comments (21 so far)
July 12, 2009 3:11 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I don't want to speak for everyone on this board, but I'm sure you'll all agree, that the huge, giant, Harrah's logo, in the center of the ferris wheel, I feel is particularly classy.

July 12, 2009 3:47 PM Posted by hail2skins

The name of this project ("Link") suggests that it was meant to "link" the Strip to something else on Koval, I would think.

But as the Sun article and Steve Freiss' column on it opine, this isn't anything we should expect to be seeing anytime soon.

July 12, 2009 4:24 PM Posted by Dave

I'm of two minds on this one. On one hand, it's nice that management is being realistic about what kind of projects will be doable in the near future.

On the other hand, I feel like we're being played for suckers here. I know two years ago was a long, long, time, but I recall talk of a vast "Harrah's America" project that would justify the company's costly land acquisitions. There was definite talk of one, maybe two implosions, the partial demolition or massive overhaul of Bally's as the Horseshoe, and a lot more. Why else bother to acquire properties like Bourbon Street, Imperial Palace, and Barbary Coast? Certainly not to build what may be a glorified food court between the Flamingo and O'Shea's.

Since the company's privately-held and not beholden to the markets, I'd think they could be a little more forthcoming about what's going on here. Why not just say, "We bought a lot of land when prices were going up. High end looked like the way to go. The market's changed, and we're changing our plan to reflect that." I'd respect that much more than saying, "We meant to do this all along," when it doesn't seem, from the publicly-available evidence, to be so.

Expect some more from me on this at DieIsCast tomorrow. I've got some thoughts about the supposed death of the high end market in Las Vegas.

July 12, 2009 4:33 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I thiink this project is a good idea (except for the Farris wheel) and may be something that Harrah's actually builds, since it seems affordable. Haven't rumors of this been posted here in the past year, or so?

July 12, 2009 6:48 PM Posted by mike_ch

They seem to just barely miss the mark here. It's not the corridor between Flamingo and O'Shea's that needs fixing, it's the stripmosphere experience between Harrah's and Flamingo.

I can't stand the "Carnival Court" and having to meander around a bunch of booze merchandise and a crowd for some lounge act trying to get to IP. And once in IP, I hate the cars flying out of nowhere.

Making O'Shea's into something that isn't what it is at present is a good start, though.

July 12, 2009 7:48 PM Posted by Tom M

I think that the "Link" is connecting the properties to each other in a cohesive way. At least in the eyes of the Harrah's people. Since this story is coming from a newspaper and not from Harrahs I would be skeptical about some of the details. Let's wait and hear from the source when they officially announce their plans. Personally, I don't see this happening for at least two years, and the plans will probably change again.

I am reading alot about having a "mid-market" resort on the strip. I don't think we need more midmarket, there is plenty on the strip that caters to all markets. We have Wynncore-Bellagio-Caesars-Venetian/Palazzo-Aria as the high end market. There is Mirage-MGM-Mandalay-Paris-PHo as the upper mid market. There is Harrah's-Ballys-TI-Luxor-NYNY-Flamingo-Excal-Monte Carlo as the mid market. Finally, there is Tropicana-Imperial Palace-Circus Circus-Sahara-Strat-Riviera-Bill's as lower mid market and sometimes total dumpsters. Seems to me that the Strip covers all the markets today quite well with plenty of choices for all budgets.

I hope that whatever Harrah's decides to do, they take the effort to make the strip side of all of their resorts a lot better than it is today.

July 12, 2009 11:04 PM Posted by Arthur

In my opinion, any proposals with a giant-ferris-wheel in it will end up not getting build at all. This is like the what?...sixth proposal with a giant wheel already?

July 13, 2009 3:29 AM Posted by Nami Dalufin

Let's see what this big named casino has to offer after all. At least there will be additional spot to have fun and enjoy with friends. Plus of course the idea of casino and gambling is attached.

July 13, 2009 6:22 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Let's give it a better name than Project Link; the first that come to mind are somehting like Bill Street, Gary Lane, S.H. 21, or O'Shea Way. Anyone got any other ideas?

July 13, 2009 9:30 AM Posted by Dave

Total Rewards Court
Seven Stars Avenue
Giantferriswheelofdoom Drive (got that from Hunter's tag on the story)

July 13, 2009 10:05 AM Posted by detroit1051

"Loveman's Ludicrous Lunacy."
My cynicism is showing today, but I fear another Hawaiian Marketplace.

July 13, 2009 11:16 AM Posted by Phil

Positives- Its something new. I like the New Orleans theme. Anything theme now is preferred to the generic modern styling that MGM does. It looks like Imperial Palace is getting a new porte cochere with a new road being developed where the carnival barker junk stores that flood the entrance of Harrahs sit now. I really welcome that area being destructed.

Potential Negatives- choice of location I thought was odd. The whole theme and concept more mirrors Harrahs theme, so why have it away from Harrahs and between Imperial and O'Sheas? You could have used the area you have now and just start over.

I thought the road they plan to use served a couple purposes: O'Sheas self park access is off that road and isn't the Flamingo Tour Bus Lobby off that road too for busses? If I recall correctly the exit point to O'Sheas self park is the the back of the garage in a different location from the entrance point, so they may have that question answered in being able to use the exit point as an entrance as well. Also I think I saw buses using the side entrance of Flamingo that aligns the backside of Barbary Coast so logistically losing that road maybe a complete non-issue to start this project.

It appears Imperial Palace now has zero signage in front. They used to have an actual marquee in the front years ago, but it looks like they're getting rid of the pagoda and just making it a gigantic LED sign.

I'm not a fan of seeing more bars in this town, but with the economy as it is they're squeezing the lime out of the high profit margins on liquor. I can visualize it now, 50 people standing drunk with their long, I'm a tourist Fat Tuesday Daquiris glasses. And as one commenter mentioned, I hope its not a China Express, Burger King like restuarants. If they create much nicer options than that, I fear knowing how Harrahs operates that they'll run it into the ground after a few years creating another carnival barker attraction that I avoid rather than attend.

Like others have said as far as the ferris wheel goes, I'll believe it when I see it, proposed many times, never happens. Vegas isn't about carnival rides, so I hope this go around never happens either. Isn't there a bunch of low rent apartments from the 50's back there anyway? They would have to buy those people out to install that ferris wheel.

July 13, 2009 12:22 PM Posted by detroit1051

Phil wrote:
"Isn't there a bunch of low rent apartments from the 50's back there anyway? They would have to buy those people out to install that ferris wheel."

Didn't Harrah's knock them all down a couple years ago in preparation for their original plans? Maybe Mike_ch or someone else on the scene could do a tour of that area.

July 13, 2009 1:03 PM Posted by Dave

It's mostly desert now.

July 13, 2009 10:15 PM Posted by GregoryZephyr

Reminds me of the Universal Studios Citywalk. A long pedestrian street with bars and restaurants right off the Strip in that space seems like it might make some sense. In some ways, the overall concept is not that far different from City Center in that it is a collection of loosely connected hotels. Of course, for City Center they are all brand new and planned.

July 13, 2009 10:41 PM Posted by Arthur

Harrah's Street or Caesars Avenue sounds reasonable. Maybe on that street they could put like a bandstand for performances? Make it look like Times Square with lots of neon signs or something.

July 14, 2009 7:55 AM Posted by TC from Boston

I don't hate this idea, and think a lot of good can come of it.

Take that area do what they will to it, add shops bars, whatever, throw a new tourist trap at the end (think of it as a London Eye with views of the strip)

Now pave over the carnival court maybe expand make that more useful space (more casino higher end restaurants whatever) and I think they just made that stretch of the strip more tolerable, just don't touch o'sheas.

July 14, 2009 9:53 AM Posted by doc_al

As a business strategy I can't fault this. Driving incremental revenue (keyword: "tenants") when big capital projects are on hold makes sense to me. Although without an anchor casino at the other end, I wonder what the draw will be. And no, the giant Harrahs Wheel isn't it...

July 14, 2009 3:56 PM Posted by David McKee

That Ferris wheel (600 feet? Really?) will be sitting out in the middle of a whole lot of nothing, which will be ... odd.

July 16, 2009 11:48 AM Posted by Russ Morgan

Re: O'Sheas self park garage. It doesn't appear that it is even part of the plans based upon the artist renderings. It looks like that will be taken out to make room for this street. The street as it currently is looks too narrow for anything. My bet is that they build a new parking garage to the back of the project so you have to walk through this project to reach O'Sheas.

Wait, who am I kidding. This project is never going to get off the ground in the first place.

July 17, 2009 8:16 AM Posted by Sam

I would think the wheel is mainly a way to entice people to actually walk down that street. I'd say it could pretty much be anything, as long as it stands out. If I remember correctly, that's a very unfortunate and especially crowded part of the Strip sidewalk as it is. The wheel itself is obviously a dumb idea, but the concept of a perpendicular street of shops/dining with a hook at the end seems like a good idea.

Frankly, I'm surprised that Harrah's-type properties don't have more street-level retail and dining options. Wynn and Bellagio don't need them, because people will want to see those properties and thus will go in no matter what, but who goes to Vegas to see the inside of Harrah's and then winds up at a Harrah's restaurant?