The Las Vegas Strip Is in the Midst of a Regeneration

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When you think of the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip, you probably consider most of the attractions at the south end: the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, the iconic MGM Grand resort, the Luxor, and some of the upscale properties such as Aria and The Cosmopolitan. The mid-Strip region is equally world-renowned, with prestigious resorts like the Bellagio and Caesars Palace becoming must-see landmarks for first-time visitors to “Sin City”.

It’s the north end of the Strip that’s suffered in the last couple of decades. Its geography means that it’s somewhat detached from the rest of the Strip, with the likes of Circus Circus and the Strat left looking somewhat tired and out of place. Even off-Strip locations like the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino have had greater investment. In fact, the Rio has become something of a symbol for Vegas’ poker scene, having staged the World Series of Poker (WSOP) here since 2005. This shift came two years after the emergence of the “poker boom” ignited by the success of Chris Moneymaker, an online qualifier who took down the WSOP Main Event for a cool $2.5m paycheck.

Nevertheless, there finally appears to be a shift in perception at the top of the Strip. Following years of underinvestment, there is something of a renaissance occurring here, bringing the north end in line with the rest in terms of entertainment appeal.

Resorts World Las Vegas is the tip of the iceberg

It’s telling that the first new casino resort on the Vegas Strip for more than ten years should be built at the top of the Strip. The $4.3-billion Resorts World Las Vegas was several years in the making. The project finally broke ground in May 2015, with formal construction taking place towards the end of 2017. It was a landmark moment when Resorts World opened its doors to the public on June 24, 2021. The Asian-themed property consists of 3,506 hotel rooms, 117,000 sq. ft of gaming floor space, and a multitude of fine-dining and live entertainment options.

The Fontainebleau Las Vegas – previously named The Drew Las Vegas – is set to be the next entrant to the north end of the Strip by Q4 2023. The global recession curbed this project in 2008 and since then the project has changed hands on more than one occasion. It is currently in the hands of Jeff Soffer and Koch Real Estate Investments, with development ramping up fast. The Fontainebleau will be the tallest building in Las Vegas once complete, providing another impressive addition to the Strip skyline. A quick glance at its original plans included 3,889 rooms (which has since been cut to 3,780 for launch next year), over 24 on-site restaurants, an Icelandic-inspired thermal spa, and a 300,000 sq. ft retail mall.

Further investments in north Strip resorts

Existing north Strip resorts have also invested considerable sums of money in regenerating their experiences for customers. The Sahara Las Vegas has kickstarted a spate of renovations to the value of $150 million, which include improvements to the resort’s pool area, restaurants and many other sections. The Sahara has been on the Strip since 1952 and, although it closed its doors in the summer of 2011, investors have worked hard to ensure it remains a force to be reckoned with.

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The Stratosphere Hotel, Casino and SkyPod is another that’s seen a major overhaul of late, not least in its rebranding to The Strat. Some $110 million has been pumped in to remodel and redefine The Strat’s casino floor, as well as its tired hotel rooms and restaurants – The Top of the World excepted. Even Circus Circus anticipates impending improvements to its casino floor, as well as new rides at the Adventuredome that remains such a favorite.

The reality is that Las Vegas does not have the time to rest on its laurels. It has the reputation of being a city that never sleeps, and its investors and property developers can’t kick back either if they are to ensure Vegas remains a premier tourist destination for decades to come.


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