Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

November 1, 2009

Open Topic Discussion - November 1, 2009

Posted by detroit1051

In Boyd Gaming's Call, they said that Echelon would remain dormant for three to five years, but they wouldn't take down the construction already started: "We anticipate using or incorporating the structure that's already in place into the new project."
I don't know the cost of clearing the land compared to maintaining the construction hulk, but this is obviously detrimental to The Strip. Further, when the market recovers, it doesn't seem likely that Boyd would follow its original vision for the development.
Boyd should be a good citizen and remove the skeletons. We may see how much influence Steve Wynn has on the subject: "When told that Boyd wasn't going to do anything with Echelon until the next presidential election, Wynn became somewhat incredulous. He wants to see Echelon's unfinished steel structure disappear as much as he wants to see the Obama administration vacate the White House."

Echelon Could Use Some "Tarp" Assistance


Read archived comments (23 so far)
November 1, 2009 8:20 AM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I think Boyd should leave it like it is. As an example for the City of how out of control the boom was. If the best liked and most "sensible" Casino operator can get burned, it could happen to all of us again, if we aren't careful.
I stayed at Encore 2 weeks ago and our room looked over the Echelon site. I didn't think it was any worse than the rest of the view from the 58th floor; Circus-Circus, Viva McDonald's, F'Bleau, the Riviera, a bunch of parking lots and strip malls owned by Triple 5. It is all part of an exciting, vibrant City. A little grit with the glamour.

November 1, 2009 9:44 AM Posted by mike_ch

The only threat to all that construction is rust, and Vegas doesn't really have a lot of rain.

If the structure turns out safe after 4-6 years of sitting there (no guarantees it will, but seems likely) then go on ahead.

What Steve Wynn might wish for someday is some kind of tourist corridor bureau that sets standards and enforces that all the owners have some sort of good neighbour policy. You see this in some tourist cities, I know Anaheim added one in the late 90s because Disney didn't own all the land like they do in Orlando, but wanted to clean up the streets and motel/hotel corridors around their park. A whole area was designated for resorts and is regulated with standards for that whole region. Even the mouse played along and took down it's large roadside marquee for something much more meh, but thems the breaks of doing business.

I have always wondered why Clark County has taken a hands-off, no intervention approach on the growth and transformation of the strip. That means that street development, sewer development, that sort of thing is completely reactionary to what these private companies tell the commissions they will build, and sometimes underserving the area if they're caught off guard (which with roads, they are frequently.) Such a body could give Boyd a deadline to resume construction or tear-down.

Of course, such a body would conflict with Wynn's current political career. He probably isn't a fan of any restrictions he can't get out of (see: WLV working around water rules.)

November 1, 2009 10:40 AM Posted by Jason Robar

Funny coincidenc given the quoted bit above, but here's an article about land that Steve Wynn bought to build a home, but hasn't as of yet.

mike_ch: I'd imagine Clark County has been hands off is because of the same reason why they generally don't act in any way to upset the gaming companies. You don't want to upset the cash cow too much.

November 1, 2009 1:20 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

mike_ch I agree with you, and have been wondering the same thing lately. Especially while I was looking at the big, blue, F'you (sorry-F'bleau) blocking a large chunk of the view from the 58th floor. It totally blocks out the Stratosphere tower! I realize this may not be a bad thing:-), but it still gives a sense of how massive (monolithic?) F'Bleau is. It made me wonder why Rory and the Reid-Tones weren't looking out for the quality of life for the neighbors and how they thought the streets and sewers would be able to handle the 15,000 additional vehicle trips and 75,000+ gallons of sewage that would be added to the burdens of the infrastructure?

November 1, 2009 3:25 PM Posted by mike_ch

Jeff: F'Bleau made me remember how the City of Seattle has laws and restrictions regarding heights around the Space Needle. It's rather short because it's old and the city knew that companies would want to build HQs and iconic towers all around it, eventually blotting it out with buildings.

As a result, Seattle's corporate skyline is downtown, a good ways away from the Needle. Thus you can have shots like this one where the Needle appears taller than the 1,000+ footer Bank of America tower. In reality, there's nothing near it.

There is no vision or long-term planning for what the resort corridor will look like in the future, just what the various entrepreneurs up and down the Boulevard propose for their own parcels of land. This can result in poor infastructure

Part of this, no doubt, is that LV locals for some reason want to be absolved of owning the Strip. Even something like rescuing the Monorail will create an uproar among the Review-Journal readership crowd. Residents seem to have a "casinos make plenty of money so they can pay for everything" motto, which is understandable but they also tend to be very ignorant that their home and lifestyle only exists because of casinos.

This whole trickle-down, "accomodate the developers as they require it" approach also means there's no long-term sustainability planning, a curse that has been plaguing all of Southern Nevada in general.

CityCenter is the first project where the developer is, at minimum, making airs of working with the county. It's unfortunate that they've had to shut so many roads down for years, but the new Harmon Ave with east and west finally connected should be quite nice. MGM probably hopes Harmon will become a new Tropicana Ave or Flamingo Rd, a major artery. If it does, everyone driving on it goes right through their project and is faced with that ARIA turnoff ramp.

November 2, 2009 1:52 PM Posted by parchedearth

Echelon's parking structure looks almost complete and the foundation work is massive. Any future project is definitely going to want to make use of the concrete work even if the steel structure needs to be redone.

They put up an opaque fence (at least on the strip side) so from street level you can't really see into the site. There probably isn't anything that can be done to make the views from the Encore rooms any more palatable to Steve.

November 2, 2009 5:07 PM Posted by detroit1051

This is downright depressing:
"Cheap room prices at Las Vegas hotels are attracting a different clientele. Not to sound too snobbish, but a source from a locals casino said one sign is the increasing amount of room damage.
"The class of people coming to Las Vegas is a step below the people who used to come here," he said."
Find this article at:

November 2, 2009 7:34 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: I wouldn't be too depressed over that. It sources a locals casino, which could be anything from the luxe JW Marriott to the dumpy AZ Charlies Decatur. My guess (and this is purely speculation) is that it's South Point's Mike Gaughan, as he was previously quoted complaining about his customers buying beer from outside the priced to gouge walls of the resort.

If it is him, he should remember his resort is the one promoting bullfighting (bloodless, but still...) at the equestrian building last month, so if you aim your sights downmarket enough, you'll get exactly what you ask for...

This wasn't a problem for Las Vegas in the past, because the sales of burgers and beer and stuff was totally secondary to the gambling. No-frills joints like Binion's weren't really missing out on profits so much as just getting rid of the unnecessary extras to keep their costs down.

A lot of resorts, ESPECIALLY the locals resorts, are going to have to get used to that. Something like Sam's Town, with a bare bones hotel and a lot of player-friendly games, is closer to the market's desire right now.

The real loser there is Station, which has been building Suburb Casinos with Venetian-sized budgets.

November 4, 2009 2:03 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Wynn is out for NY. He withdrew.

November 4, 2009 4:18 PM Posted by detroit1051

Steve made the right decision. Gov. Paterson has made a mess of Aqueduct. It's going to be a purely political decision without regard to whom is the best operator. I sense that SL Green will get it, but I hope not.

November 5, 2009 4:25 PM Posted by David McKee

At least SL Green's got some deep pockets behind them, in the form of the Seminoles. I'd be most concerned if the casino contract went to the Navegante Group (and friends) consortium because Navegante is developing an unfortunate habit of hooking up with cheapskate owners, and then running casinos on the quick and (literally) dirty. The Sahara is in pretty obvious decline right now -- in some respects physically much worse than the Riviera, even though the latter is close to bankrupt.

November 6, 2009 6:00 AM Posted by Phil

Anyone know what City Center's plan is to communicate the going's on at City Center to the strip traffic? My gut tells me their plan all along was zero signage. I've never seen a marquee as a part of the design nor any of the ever so popular retangular LED signage on any of the buildings. If they go the route of no signage, it has to be another first for Vegas. While its not a huge factor for me, I certainly have seen offerings on marquees that sparked interest in me making a visit to that particular hotel (restaurant, show....etc.). I assume many vacationers use the marquees info to make decisions whether planned or split second. I can understand the argument that tacking on LED signage to the hotels will ruin the look of the property, but there lies the challenge of making something unique to give us the next generation of signage, but it seems like they're avoiding that challenge.

November 6, 2009 1:16 PM Posted by parchedearth

Further to Phil's comment about the lack of signage to draw visitors into Aria's recessed location, I think this may be intentional as it didn't fit with their original semi-residential city block view of the project. Also, one of Bellagio's issues is the constant flow of stripwalkers through the casino that never gamble or stop to eat. It may be that they don't view strip walk-in traffic as particularly necessary/desirable the way that Harrah's/ Flamingo/IP does. That said, I think they are missing a great opportunity here and wouldn't be suprised if they added some strip signage at a later date.

Also, it remains to be seen how the traffic (both foot and car) flow is going to work at CC. Several years ago I looked into purchasing a condo at Veer and the salespeople had no info on sidewalks, traffic lights, crossing locations, foot bridges, etc... It was as if they hadn't even modeled it. I would be interested to hear how much of the strip foot traffic they expect will detour into Crystals and Aria. On the other hand, I expect MO will need a doorman to try to control the foot traffic at their front door.

November 6, 2009 6:50 PM Posted by Anthony

Encore, Ritz and Palazzo awarded AAA Five Diamond.

November 9, 2009 6:30 AM Posted by Brian Fey

Well, now we know what Wynn will be doing with some of their cash. They'll be returning it to shareholders. Wynn announced a $4 one time cash dividend today, and possibly even more importantly, they announced that in 2010 they will start paying out a regular ongoing dividend. Thank You Steve Wynn, now I can go Christmas shopping!

November 9, 2009 10:15 AM Posted by mike_ch

Wouldn't "returning it" mean it was originally shareholders' to begin with?

Unless we're calling gamblers shareholders now... :)

November 13, 2009 7:42 PM Posted by detroit1051

NY Times has a mini-review of Encore, or as the Times calls it, "The Encore".

November 16, 2009 10:48 AM Posted by detroit1051

I'm already bummed out by missing this week's G2E. I see Hunter is on the agenda for alternative online marketing. Should be interesting.

November 17, 2009 9:53 AM Posted by detroit1051

Cirque du Soleil may not find the same popularity in Macau as it has in Las Vegas:

November 19, 2009 7:03 PM Posted by detroit1051

Is Harmon going to open in 2010 or not? Murren is quoted in the RJ that Harmon will be "evaluated" next year. He told the Sun the project was "dormant" until the market improves.

November 19, 2009 8:53 PM Posted by Brian Fey

I would say, no it won't open in 2010, unless they feel like the demand is there. They won't spend the money to finish it, and staff it, if its only going to just lose money.

November 21, 2009 5:20 AM Posted by detroit1051

Let's not forget downtown during all the CityCenter hype. Any locals been to Golden Nugget's Rush Tower opening? What did you think?

November 22, 2009 5:26 AM Posted by detroit1051

Scott Sibella is surprisingly candid in his description of The Mirage's position on the Strip:
"Scott Sibella, who has spent more than four years as the hotel-casino's president, said The Mirage is in the middle of the pack on the Strip.
"It's hard for us to compete with the Bellagios and the Wynns," Sibella said. "But when it comes to the second-tier properties, we think we're at the top of that level."