Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Wynn Resorts has an appointment to see Clark County about a big potential change to Encore.

It seems that they feel the Las Vegas Strip porte-cochere is a bit of a waste of space - they want to replace it with a pool and nightclub complex, right up next to Las Vegas Blvd.

Here's the filing with the county: PDF Filing w/ Clark County

Sounds like they would create a new entrance to this addition from Las Vegas Blvd. as well as create a pedestrian bridge for people walking in front of the parking garage entrance.

What will happen to the Encore atrium, Switch and high limit areas? Will they have to be modified to accommodate this?

We're working on getting more info from Wynn PR and also other channels.

Thanks to Detroit for giving me the heads up on this filing.

Update: We hear that the project is scheduled for Q2 2010.


Read archived comments (47 so far)
August 12, 2009 6:25 PM Posted by mike_ch

Going to start off with what I think is going to be an oft-repeated statement:

That's too many nightclubs.

August 12, 2009 6:40 PM Posted by detroit1051

Based on the Wynn/Encore property map, it looks like the existing entrance from the LV Blvd porte cochere would serve as the entrance to the new complex from Encore without modification. Also, the bridge from the parking structure must refer only to the Wynn parking structure between Encore and Wynn.
Do Sinatra and/or Switch have any windows facing the Strip? What will club/bar/pool noise do to the ambience at Sinatra?
I know I'm wrong, but my first mental image was of Diablo out front of Monte Carlo.
If I were a local, I'd go to the Hearing to see whatever renderings are shown.
FYI, here's the property map:

August 12, 2009 6:45 PM Posted by Hunter

Switch has no windows but Sinatra has large windows, as well as outdoor dining.

August 12, 2009 6:46 PM Posted by Brian Fey

WHAT? Are you serious? Honestly I love the idea! It is a waste of space, and to me the pool is a VERY big deal, and Encore pool is very nice, but also very small.

August 12, 2009 6:48 PM Posted by Doug

This doesn't surprise me that much. X/S has been a HUGE hit and both Blush and Tryst are packed every weekend (from what I read). The other 'top clubs' TAO, LAVO and The Bank are also doing well. And although some clubs are in trouble (Prive' is a good example) the nightclub 'scene' represents the new Las Vegas gambler/guest...

In the old days people went to the shows to see headliners or the "revues" and then hit the tables for gambling. Now the younger crowd goes for the clubs, but still gambles in the casino - the nightclubs are now what brings in the customers. And the clubs make a ton of money.

August 12, 2009 6:55 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Maybe they make some new huge, amazing, elaborate, feature. The hotel needs something to get people to come see how amazing it is, so maybe The one hotel he skipped a feature on, will now get its feature. Having a casino with natural light, and a casino level pool, is not a feature. Maybe they make something really spectacular , there is substantial land there, and i'm sure they'd like to show off how amazing this property could be.

August 12, 2009 7:38 PM Posted by Brian Fey

So many thoughts are running through my mind. Perhaps this would be en exclusive tower side pool area? Would you have to access this only from the main Encore casino? Does Wynn want guest going through the casino, wearing their bikini's and speedo's? I'm so curious now, I can't wait to get more info, on exactly what this will entail. On a hopefully last note, this sounds very expensive. Well into the tens of millions perhaps?

August 12, 2009 7:48 PM Posted by Michael Lu

Another pool/nightclub complex area? I agree with Brian, the place needs something to wow people in. I also agree with Mike about there being too many nightclubs. If there's going to be a pool on that side of the resort, my only pet peeve would be people walking the casino floor in their swimwear. Can't remember the layout of the hotel exactly, last time I was there was New Year's.

August 12, 2009 7:53 PM Posted by Hunter

It doesn't seem like it would be that hard to punch a hole from the spa on the second level to this new thing, allowing direct guest access.

August 12, 2009 7:54 PM Posted by Tom M.

I have not been to Encore yet but my sense is that Switch as a gimmick is a real flop. On all of the various websites and forums, I just don't hear much about Switch. Given its location to the strip, maybe Wynn will throw in the towel on that one and knock it down as part of the changes.

August 12, 2009 8:58 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I'd be surprised to see Switch go. It was never meant to be a main feature or draw. Its very cool, and the food is excellent. Encore needs all the dining choices it can get, as it only has a few anyhow. I don't know that the spa level goes that far to the west. The roof tapers off, from the edge of the spa's 2nd floor to the glass skylights that all cover the garden area, so not sure how you'd get guest into that area, from the spa without disturbing the garden area. Wow, we are all such total geeks, discussing all this in such detail. :)

August 12, 2009 9:09 PM Posted by Hunter

I do think Switch's gimmick is kinda lame but the food is, as Brian said, excellent.

The spa extends over the casino but they could probably engineer a way to enter from the far end of the tower on that level. Not impossible.

August 13, 2009 1:26 AM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit, you almost had me planning my morning to go to the Planning Commission meeting until you caused me to remember that it's on locally on the county TV station, which is also streamed online. Shouldn't be anything presented there you wouldn't see that you would by going.

Brian's idea of an attraction is interesting. Hopefully it is more of the Mirage-era "roadside attraction" variety than the WLV "members only" type, because that north end is such a ghetto right now that it needs something impressive to bring some life back.

August 13, 2009 5:07 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, thanks for bringing me into the 21st Century. I'll definitely watch it online.

August 13, 2009 5:31 AM Posted by TC from Boston

I read through the...I don't know what to call it..planning board agenda?...and this seems like a bad idea.maybe there is more to it that they aren't sharing at the moment, but I've said it since my visits to needs something that will bring Joe and Mary Blow in from off the street just to wonder in and play a bit...and a new nightclub/pool area isn't the answer.

The amount of space (60K sf ft) and the entrances from the parking garage make it seems as if they are adding a more pedestrian/people driving in friendly entrance making it easier for people to get in the front door rather than in the middle of the esplanade which was a weird entrance.

I think the issue is they are banking on the name Wynn...I would say most people who go to Vegas have no idea who Steve Wynn is, or what he has done..give the place an outfront wow piece that will draw people in and they will be hooked. you can't rely on word of mouth to be a successful property..and that's what they are doing at the moment. It will certainly be interesting how this develops.

August 13, 2009 8:48 AM Posted by Brian Fey

TC I agree, and that's why I said, I think they would probably make something really amazing, Something people want to come in and see. Wynn has always downplayed the importance of a pool, (TI's pool was horrible all along, and even got worse as the property went along). I'm not sure how Wynn overlooks this. Its pretty simple to me. Most people don't have a pool, due to cost or climate. And most people love to hit the pool. The pool at Mirage and MB are what makes those properties. People love to book those places based off how great the pools are.

August 13, 2009 10:52 AM Posted by parchedearth

This might be to address that their current pool is too small and there is no real separation b/w topless and family areas. Also, if you move XS you alleviate the lines from blocking access b/w the properties. It might also help with the gaming commision's issue with clubs that directly feed into the casino floors (ala Prive). Clubgoers could enter directly from the Wynn parking garage.

I don't see any change for Switch and Sinatra's windows are north of the pool area.

Adding a distinctive feature to attract visitors is a great idea, but I don't think we can read that into it. Since new fountains are banned and the setbacks restrict the height of signage, I am not sure what he can do.

August 13, 2009 11:02 AM Posted by Hunter

I may be wrong about this but I believe that since Wynn Resorts got the water rights for the DI Golf Course, they can pretty much do whatever they want with regards to water features - they are grandfathered in.

August 13, 2009 11:06 AM Posted by parchedearth

A couple other comments. Moving XS would address the noise issue with guests trying to sleep. The space could be turned into more of a lounge area (ala Blush) or move Society Cafe in there as a food/lounge.

This project also gives the designers something to work on. I wonder if they think this can be done by the beginning of next summer? I'm thinking the cost is going to be well over $100M.

August 13, 2009 11:07 AM Posted by Hunter

I'm trying to get an official response on cost and timeline.

I also asked for renderings but I think the chances of getting those is close to nil.

August 13, 2009 12:27 PM Posted by BrianK

I agree that moving XS would be a good idea, and that the impact on Switch and Sinatra would be pretty minimal.
However, as to attracting "Joe and Mary Blow" off from the street in the north Strip, I think Steve has made it pretty clear that he is shooting for an above-average-spending-power customer, so the chances of somebody wandering by (from where? to where? Palazzo and the Riviera don't share much clientele) being the type of customer Wynn wants is low.
I think he'll focus on improving the experience for his guests, resulting in a better overall high-end resort, as opposed to focusing effort on increasing brand awareness somehow through a "feature".

August 13, 2009 1:46 PM Posted by TC from Boston

I guess what I was getting at isn't so much a Volcano or Fountains...just something to get someone in the door. I know WLVs whole appeal is service service service, and thats one of the reasons why I love it there. I also know that Wynn is after whales and other big spenders. But the bottom line you need Jo and Mary Blow (average american tourist) first timers in Vegas in your casino to survive. Look at it this way they've got money to blow and are doing the usual strip walk. Start mid strip we've all done it whether it be Ceasers Harrahs IP whatever the walk to Encore is quite a hike with no real wow factor at the end. Your average tourist isn't going to be impressived with natural light, trees and just the general decor of a place. They want that it factor. I think if they did something like the Bellagio Conservatory in the Encore it would help....its not in your face its subtle and it would serve the purpose of getting someone to take the trip up north and maybe drop some money in the casino, restaurant or what have you. Thats what its all about getting buts in those seats, whether they be a guest or not, and once that happens people would be hooker and then move upstairs and spend more

August 13, 2009 6:18 PM Posted by hail2skins

Hunter, is that "scheduled for completion" in Q2 2010 or for starting it?

August 13, 2009 6:20 PM Posted by Hunter

Sounds like the "Beach Club" is scheduled to be completed in Q2 2010, ready for late Spring/Summer.

August 13, 2009 8:10 PM Posted by Erich L

Hmm.. while I agree that it's an absolute madhouse navigating the esplanade sat-mon nights. I don't think XS is going anywhere anytime soon. As the hottest club in Vegas, plus with a buildout price around $95mm, its too expensive to shut down and move a few thousand feet away.

August 13, 2009 8:38 PM Posted by Brian Fey

XS ain't moving. I'd be VERY surprised to see that happen. XS is the top club in town, by a long shot, I hear. They won't fix, what isn't broken. They might add another club, and go for another XS, but they won't risk changing the recipe on such a proven winner like that. I was trying to figure out how all of this is going to work exactly. I think there are ramps in that ares, that take cars down into a underground parking garage. I guess they'll make a pool deck, on level with the main casino level, and have another level below that so they can access all of that? Because as I recall, there is a pretty substantial elevation change, between the Strip, and the entrance doors. Since it will be years, before we can get excited about Wynn building another hotel in Vegas, at least we can get excited about them making major changes to ones that are already there. Don't forget, Wynn is due for a total room revamp in the next 12-18 months also. I'm very curious to see what transpires there as well.

August 14, 2009 12:16 AM Posted by Andrew H

How are the tower suites at Encore ever going to be Mobil 5 Star if they remove the Tower Suite entrance? Don't you need a separate entrance to that section of the hotel in order for it to be a Mobil 5 Star rated propriety? Also removing the porte-cochere means that guest will have to walk from Wynn to the Encore elevators? How can the check in area at Wynn handle all the Encore guests as well as Wynn guests? What happens to the Encore check in area? Are Encore guests expected to walk from the Wynn porte-cochere to the Encore check in? Really? What about baggage elevators, and getting your bags from Wynn to Encore? Am I completely mis-reading what is going on here? How does getting rid of the Encore porte-cochere increase the Encore guests experience? I stayed at Encore on St Patrick's day this year, I'm going back this weekend for a four night stay. When I booked my room I had to really think if I wanted to stay at Encore again and make the walk to Wynn everyday, that walk is a hell of a walk. I booked Encore this time, if they get rid of the porte-cochere I wont be back to Encore if I'm going to have to walk from Wynn to Encore and then back to Wynn to eat/gamble. Ill just stay at Wynn. Everyone is only talking about what they are putting their, not what they are taking away. And no they are not moving XS. Please remember XS cost almost 100 million to build. The whole south-side of the hotel has "New York" glass to help dampen the sound from XS, and now your going to move it when it's a roaring success? I don't think so.

August 14, 2009 7:26 AM Posted by detroit1051

1) Poolside Sundays at XS. Reading this makes me think there's no way Steve Wynn would jeopardize the revenue from XS. Also, based on the following quote from the story, it's another reason I wouldn't stay anywhere near a nightclub and be subjected to the noise, special glass or not:
"At 1 or 2 in the morning, we have half of the crowd swimming in the pool," Waits says. "It's just like daytime-at-night.
"By 1 or 2, it's just crazy. We bring out these beach balls and floating (toys) and rafts, and everyone just plays with them. It's just like a pool party."

2) The Planning Agenda for the Encore development is a huge financial story for Las Vegas when you consider 63,000 sq ft of construction at a time when almost everything else is on hold. Yet, I'm not aware of any Vegas media picking up on the story. Why not?
That's why I get much of my news here at Two Way Hard Three.

August 14, 2009 7:57 AM Posted by Hunter

The filing explicitly states that the two existing porte-cocheres will remain. That means the Tower Suites and main guest entrances on Wynn Blvd. with direct access to Encore.

The entrance they are talking about replacing is the Las Vegas Blvd. porte-cochere, which I can tell you from experience, very few people use. It is basically valet for the casino only, as guests all use one of the two on the hotel side.

Correct, they are NOT moving XS, the Encore Beach Club would be something new... which totally fits with the St. Tropez vibe and vision for the place.

One thing about the 'New York' glass though - based on my experience, they should get their money back. Sounds the same as Tryst through the WynnLV glass to me - boom, boom, boom, boom...

August 14, 2009 7:58 AM Posted by Hunter

I too am surprised why this hasn't been picked up by local media.

August 14, 2009 9:31 AM Posted by mike_ch

You are? For the most part locals don't give a rat's patoot about what's happening on the Strip. It could possibly get covered as a "more work for people who still have construction jobs" angle, but people who live here really don't care about a nightclub announcement, they don't go to them.

August 14, 2009 10:43 AM Posted by Hunter

The local media reports on Strip stuff all the time. It's a little strange that a large addition to one of the top places in town has had zero mention.

Harrah's Street 'o Shops for example? This is a lot more than just a nightclub, plus it is directly on LVB.

As far as locals not going to nightclubs - that's not correct at all. Nightclub operators on The Strip will tell you that they do a very healthy locals business.

August 14, 2009 12:45 PM Posted by mike_ch

Ah, for some reason when I think of local media I think of the TV stations, mostly because I don't read the paper. OOTers would probably think of the papers before the TV stations because all of their content is online. Whoopsie.

I suspect because the Wynn people aren't prepared to comment or anything this is on the downlow. As soon as they have county permission and can present a focus-tested name and a zazzy logo the Sun will have it on their homepage.

August 14, 2009 3:52 PM Posted by Dave

I was going to say what Mr. Ch said.

On the subjects of local papers and the industry (and Hunter, feel free to move this to a new thread if this is too far off topic), does anyone else find it a bit disingenuous that the Las Vegas Sun's online frontpage has a "Casino Guide" that has featured a photo of the Palms exclusively? After all, American Nevada, which is a Greenspun (owners of the Sun) corporation, owns a 6 percent share in the place. Why doesn't this feature photo rotate? Seems like a bit of a coincidence that, out of 70 or so casinos in town, one that has a shared owner with the paper is featured 24/7 with no disclaimer.

August 14, 2009 4:33 PM Posted by Double Crown Records

How 'bout a gigantic ferris wheel, with a swimming pool all around it?

August 15, 2009 8:46 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

Dave, I wondered why the image of the Palms on the Sun website hasn't changed in the 6 weeks or so that I have noticed it. I'm thinking that when they do change images, it will be to the Red Rock and other Casinos the Greenspuns are partnered in.

August 15, 2009 6:40 PM Posted by Phil

Upon immediately seeing this entry on the blog, my gut told me I was let down. I guess in this economy the bottom line is you have to go with ideas that make money, but I think we're all used to seeing Mr. Wynn and his team create stuff thats ahead of the curve or things never been done before. Thats why we like all his places when they opened, they were the next level. Now it seems like Mr. Wynn is just copying everyone else, club wise. Sure his version may be more successful or look nicer, but one thing I don't ever want Wynn or Encore to be is a glorified, more expensive, cookie cutter version of a MGM formula hotel. While there have always been clubs in Vegas, it was MGM that I guess you could argue pioneered using them as a major revenue stream and Mr. Wynn did a very good job at jumping on the bandwagon. Personally in my dream world, I guess I don't want Mr. Wynn to be a bandwagon jumper, I want him to create the trends, not follow them. But back to reality, its all about surviving in this economy and he's creating something he has to do more than creating the cool attraction some of us want.

The attraction concept for me represents a special part of Vegas, its just stuff you don't find in your hometown. Its an excess that doesn't need to be there, but it exists because we're Vegas and thats what we do here.

Wynn and his designs always seemed to represent the putting design first regardless of cost. Bean counters never seemed to be allowed in the decision room when it came to a concept. Surely Encore represents that excess we all love, but in this economy, the door to that decision room is cracked open and the bean counter is sticking his head in. And doing some attraction that the bean counter says will bring $20 million in business to the hotel is not good enough when comparing it to $40 million a club can bring in. In a good economy the attraction used to win because money was flowing in like water, but now the bean counter has more pull than ever in the Wynn offices.

I guess I'm guilty of often putting design over dollars and cents. The good times in Vegas spoiled me where there were no wild ideas that were bad economic decisions. Those days are over, unfortunately. And the wait continues for what looks like more than a few years before we can get back to those good times again. Looking forward to City Center proving me wrong.

August 15, 2009 11:26 PM Posted by Doug

You need to remember that Steve Wynn WAS one of the first to come up with the idea of 'high-end' nightclubs. When he was still at Bellagio he had the concept/plans for what became 'Light', but they didn't build it before he left.

And this whole 'St. Tropez' concept (brilliant in my thinking) is totally his idea.

I think it's just Steve Wynn seeing what's best for the Encore property and what will bring in his kind of customer and what will make a lot of money as the economy comes back.

August 15, 2009 11:29 PM Posted by mike_ch

I get what Phil means.

I walked into Bellagio today, to look at the Conservatory and check on Jasmine (still open.) There's some element there that makes me feel welcome, and given that the people in the towers (and I think even in the casino, though I've never been in Bellagio after 10PM for many years) aren't being rattled with music from clubs so loudly that they can hear up 30 stories up the tower is part of the reason why I would direct a non-clubbing customer there instead of the Wynnplex.

Encore seems to just be turning into The Mother Of All Bars. All four walls have at least one bar, and the south and west walls each have two. The club is the hottest one in town. And now another? That's a total of two nightclubs, two lounges, and four bars; and all of these Booze Dispensing Outlets are in one of the smallest, most compressed casino floors presently attached to a major building in the skyline. Wynn's offerings are reasonable because the property rambles along. Encore doesn't.

All of this while I feel like I'm seeing more and more families on the Strip. Maybe this is because school has been out and that's quickly ending, but it probably also has to do with swinging singles having to put away their Vegas days entirely when they lose their job, whereas families with two incomes are not as badly affected when one of them is temporarily jobless.

It just seems like they're doubling down on twenty-somethings who want loud music and social lubricant, when those people are taking a beating right now.

August 16, 2009 5:33 AM Posted by detroit1051

Dinner In The Sky:
I agree with Steve Wynn. The Strip doesn't need this "carnival-like attraction".
The LV Sun is incorrect. Florida's Seminole Coconut Creek Casino had one of these dinners last December at $500 a pop.

August 16, 2009 7:18 AM Posted by detroit1051

Didn't Steve Wynn tout Encore as the best hotel in the world? I know how nice it is from all reports that have been published here, but at the end of the day, Steve is in the casino and entertainment business. He is not looking for customers seeking the best, most luxurious property in the world. He is marketing to high-end gamblers and high-end clubbers. It makes sense for him to do this, and the Beach Club will certainly add to the revenue stream. But, prospective customers who aren't clubbers and aren't gamblers would rather stay in a Four Seasons or Mandarin Oriental. I tired of the boom-boom-boom from my Wynn Tower Suites room when there were private parties at the pool. I sure wouldn't want to stay at Encore and hear either XS or Beach Club. I agree with Mike_ch and Phil, that there are some definite advantages at Bellagio.
Las Vegas' target customers, gamblers and partyers, causes me to question the success of CityCenter's condos, regardless of the economy. If it is true that CityCenter is offering 30% discounts and in-house financing to move the condos, that's really tough on MGM.

August 16, 2009 8:39 AM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: While I agree with Wynn that the dinner thing is tacky, they don't own that office property (who does? Trump, or Elad?) and so complaining about what's across the street seems a battle you really wouldn't want to be part of.

The other company I can think of that complains loudly about neighbours being too tacky is, you guessed it, Disney; but they own enough land in Florida to build a whole city just so they don't have to butt up against The Rest of The World.

If this is Elad's decision, I wonder if this is their way to come-on Wynn into giving them an offer for the land. Historians would note that Steve Wynn did a similar land deal with Caesars Palace after buying a plot nearby (presently Augustus Tower) and threatening to build a dive there. Given that the guy next door wasn't a five-star Michelin winner but instead just some bingo hall owner from the northeast, Caesars gave him what he wanted.

August 16, 2009 10:02 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, this is El Ad's land, I searched for the project on the Clark Co. Zoning agenda and found:

August 17, 2009 11:23 AM Posted by David McKee

No wonder Wynn is looking to a(nother) nightclub as a money-spinner: His hotel rates are the most steeply discounted ones on the Strip (-38% YTD).

August 17, 2009 1:35 PM Posted by JK

This could work, but the location is really terrible in my opinion. I'm going to try not judge before i see what is going to happen, but a pool (and not water feature type pool) out in the front of a hotel like Encore just seems like a terrible idea at the moment. I just returned from a stay at Encore for my first time and I loved the atmosphere when you walk into the atrium, but I can only imagine how ruined the atmosphere would be when you walk into the atrium with a nightclub line in it.
I think Encore needs some type of high-end water feature out in front that will tell people who come in off the streets that you are going to be entering a high-end establishment. I know that walking into Encore beside the front club with the boom boom boom will not make a fantastic first impression.

However, if the front does undergo a major remodeling (and not just a 'look what we PLACED here' type of remodeling) and it looks like it should have been like that in the first place, and the access isn't terrible (for pedestrians entering from the street or nightclub goers) then it could work well. I wonder how long it will take to complete because I don't think construction around Encore would be very attractive to people on the streets.

August 17, 2009 5:10 PM Posted by hail2skins

Get to see Encore in person for the first time ever in two days, so it'll give me a chance to make heads or tails of this on site.

I had similar thinking to Brian's in that perhaps this would be pool space for tower suite guests, especially since that lobby is closest to the LVB entrance.....even though having two pool areas with that much separation does seem odd. What doesn't make sense, though, is that if this is a pool area that would be used by hotel guests during the day, how would that mesh with the area also being somewhat of a public entrance. Doesn't exactly sound tranquil.

Either way, it'll be interesting to see how it develops.

August 19, 2009 2:39 PM Posted by detroit1051

Dinner in the Sky:
The Zoning Board considered this request today. I saw the last ten minutes of the live feed, and it's clear there was little support. At first, the commission wanted to table the issue for 30 days to allow the entrepeneur to get some more studies done regarding safety, but several commissioners said that would only cost the guy more money when it looked like the proposal wouldn't be approved. The sentiments I heard were that the Strip was the wrong place for this kind of "amusement". The entrepeneur said something to the effect that Steve Wynn wanted him to just "pack his bags and go away". It was more interesting than last night's discussion of massage parlor violations, and might be interesting to hear the complete replay. I assume Wynn Resorts' objection was raised before I tuned in. In the end, the commission encouraged the guy to withdraw his application without prejudice, so he can resubmit it if he wants at a later date. The guy pleaded for guidance on what location would be acceptable.
Finally, as a side bar, a commissioner commented on the deplorable condition of the property which was Trump's sales office in the past. Apparently, there are burned out trees(?) and homeless people living there.
The video will be available here once the meeting ends: