Thursday, March 25, 1999 | 11:35 a.m.
A planned new escalator at the Stratosphere hotel-casino is causing a new dispute between Strato-Retail LLC and Stratosphere Corp.
Strato-Retail, a company that leases Stratosphere's 69,000 square feet of retail space and then subleases shops to 57 retail tenants, says the new escalator will hurt its ability to attract retail tenants by allowing visitors to the Stratosphere Tower to bypass its shops.
According to a new lawsuit, Stratosphere plans a new escalator that will lead directly from the casino floor to the second floor Tower entrance. That will allow Tower visitors to bypass the shops, the suit says. Now, all Tower visitors have to walk past all the shops on their way to or from the Tower, states the suit.
But Stratosphere spokesman Tom Willer said the escalator leads to the casino's showroom only, and cannot be used to reach the Tower.
The dispute is the latest between Strato-Retail and the Stratosphere. Strato-Retail sued the casino when a planned 1,000-room expansion was halted a few years ago as the resort was facing bankruptcy. That suit alleged the resort's failure to expand as planned would damage Strato-Retail's ability to attract tenants.
Willer declined to comment on the status of that suit and other officials involved could not be reached for comment.
Separately, Willer confirmed that Stratosphere is planning to build a new race and sports book, and a new lounge in the casino area. Planning for that expansion is under way, and exact details were not available.
The Stratosphere's larger plan to finish its half-completed 1,000-room hotel tower and to build a swimming pool and spa remains on hold, said Willer.