The BLOG FLUME - The Real City that Never Sleeps
Vegas is hot this month. And not just according to the thermometer. Kevin has the major goings-on in Las Vegas.
Written by Kevin Baxter
NO LONGER WET, BUT STILL WILDTweet
Las Vegas Review-Journal - Aug 12
The people who own the land that Wet 'n' Wild sits on in Las Vegas have been threatening to send the park elsewhere for so many years, people have stopped listening to the threats. Well, the threats have become reality and WnW will close down permanently in October.
On the land they tentatively plan to build a resort named Palace of the Sea sporting an Australian theme. The casino will be designed after Sydney's famed Opera House and the hotel, with 3002 rooms, will be a shocking 611 feet high. (The tallest operating hotel is New York-New York at 529 feet. Wynn Las Vegas will be the tallest when it opens at 613 feet. Then comes the Palazzo in 2007, the Venetian's 642-foot expansion, which will be a stand-alone resort, much like the Mirage's Treasure Island expansion.) Most of the rest of the resort will be nautically themed, hence the "Sea" in the title. In that "sea" will reportedly be docked yachts, which will house high-roller suites.
It sounds fantastic, if they can pull it off. It would be even more fantastic if they add a Not-As-Great Barrier Reef in that sea. Even so, this resort could really revive the Sahara intersection of the Strip and make the North Strip a major draw.
As for WnW, the park operators do plan on reopening a new WnW elsewhere in Vegas, but that may not happen for a couple years. Some of the slides may make their way to other parks, but some may be transferred to the new off-Strip site.
There is a line of thinking out there that men who believe that bigger is better are smaller in a very important area. Well, Donald Trump must be the smallest of them all. He has recently announced plans to build the tallest resort in Vegas. At 645 feet, it will be taller than all the hotels in the previous story.
BUT it isn't going to be a casino, even though Trump recently got his Nevada gaming license. Trump International Hotel and Tower will house 1000 hotel rooms, 50 luxury residential units, a spa and restaurants. Trump is building the Tower partially on property owned by the New Frontier and is being built in a partnership with that resort's owner, Phil Ruffin.
What does this mean? The Frontier, even with the "New" moniker, has been the main focus of many buy-and-implode rumors, so this deal is probably meant to do one of two things: It will either turn the Frontier into the historic destination it deserves to be (Elvis Presley's first Vegas performance was here) or the Frontier will implode and the two men will create a new mega-resort incorporating the Trump Tower.
With stuff like the Palace of the Sea and the Palazzo going up in the general area, I don't see the seriously old-time Frontier lasting much longer. Which would probably suit Trump just fine, as Steve Wynn has been proving he is much bigger than Trump for years. With Wynn Las Vegas opening next year, undoubtedly to major acclaim, expect Trump to prove how much bigger he is soon after. Just remember, Donny, that the Stratosphere is 1081 feet tall! Take that!
In a business move that is both smart and tasteless, Hooters has entered a partnership with the owners of the San Remo, a casino just east of the Tropicana. The hotel will be renamed the Hooters Casino Hotel after a $120M renovation, to be completed next year.
The renovation will include four new dining and entertainment additions, including a Hooters, naturally. The push for young males won't end there as they plan on adding a Dan Marino's Fine Food and Spirits, a restaurant with supposedly high-quality food and non-Strip prices. Higher-end males and females will be targeted with Martini Bar, another Marino concept, that is supposed to challenge snooty bars like Ghost Bar at the Palms and The Bar at THE Hotel at Mandalay Bay. There seems to be a major trend in Vegas right now to pull in the see-and-be-seen crowd, and Hooters believes expanding the San Remo pool to three times it current size will drag people away from the current poolside scenes at the Palms and the Hard Rock. I don't see why this won't work.
In fact, the San Remo was never a bad hotel to stay at if Strip prices scared you. It was just seriously boring and uninspired. With these additions, and complete room and public area renovations, this hotel certainly will no longer be either.
If Harrah's proposed buyout of Caesars was introduced to throw a monkey wrench into the MGM Mirage/Mandalay merger, it worked like a charm. The Federal Trade Commission has requested more information from the two companies about the competitive consequences that will ensue. Such "second requests" are rare, and usually mean the FTC is not comfortable with something. The FTC might not have thought twice about it if the Harrah's/Caesars thing hadn't muddied the waters.
Even worse for MGM Mirage and Mandalay Resorts is the fact that all the extra information they need to supply can delay the merger by up to ten months. Second requests also lower the chances of the merger happening to 50%.
Still, the new company could simply be forced to sell one or two Vegas casinos, which would be pretty simple as Circus Circus sucks and Monte Carlo is fairly boring and not one of the majors involved.
Either way, Harrah's/Caesars makes out like a five-armed bandit. It is doubtful the FTC will be able to stop a five-Strip-casino merger as Mandalay Resorts currently owns 4 1/2 and MGM Mirage owns 5 1/2.
Blatantly stealing from Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Vegas plans on filling the sidewalks of the Strip with two-dimensional stars celebrating Sin City's three-dimensional stars. Okay, it isn't really stealing since the people behind the Hollywood Walk of Fame are behind this idea also.
The granite stars will eventually cover the entire Strip from Mandalay Bay to Sahara on both sides of the street. It will cost the nominees or the people who nominate them $15K, and early names floated have been Vegas luminaries like Elvis, Siegfried & Roy, Wayne Newton and Liberace. The first star is expected to be embedded within 30 days. Personally, I wish they'd take a hint from the Joey commercials and bury the celebrities under the sidewalk. And I say they start with Celine Dion!
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