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December 20, 2014

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Is Caesars’ planned observation wheel just a fancy Ferris wheel?

Image

A rendering of The Linq.

Caesars Entertainment is about to spend $500 million on a 550-foot “observation wheel” and Strip development. When completed, the wheel will link the Flamingo to the Imperial Palace, which, presumably, is why they’re calling the project “Linq.”

It will include 326,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants and stages, and Caesars VP of Communications, Marybel Batjer, is comparing the area to Manhattan’s Meatpacking District and Miami’s South Beach, using buzzwords like “urban gathering space.” Caesars attorney Tabitha Fiddyment says the project will “completely change this area of Las Vegas Boulevard … entirely revitalize it.”

Sound familiar? It should. That’s what was said about CityCenter, which turned out to be just another casino complex. Nothing wrong with that, of course.

Before the 2008 crash, Caesars, too, had a CityCenteresque project. They smartly nixed it. “We’re happy we did,” says Director of Corporate Communications Gary Thompson, “especially with what's happened to the economy.”

Very adult of Caesars to admit that. But this time around, let’s call a spade a spade and a tourist trap a tourist trap. It’s a shopping mall with a Ferris wheel. Presumably, Caesars is running with “observation wheel” to avoid comparisons to the 500-foot-tall Skyvue Ferris wheel going up across from Mandalay Bay. That one will be accompanied by 140,000 square feet of retail/dining/entertainment space.

Why can’t Linq and Skyvue both run with the “battle of the Ferris wheels” angle? After all, Vegas loves a good fight.

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