Friday, May 21, 2004 | 10:58 a.m.
The Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower is expanding its Tower Shops by the size of a big supermarket and is undergoing a face lift in an attempt to attract more local business.
The Stratosphere announced plans today to add 80,000 square feet of entertainment-themed retail space to its already 110,000-square-foot Tower Shops.
Stratosphere spokesman Michael Gilmartin said the company is adding a new VIP valet that will be open in mid-June that will have direct access to the resort's Top of the World restaurant.
"We want to focus on local business people and VIPS," Gilmartin said.
One of the biggest complaints Gilmartin hears from business people is the time it takes to go out to lunch or dinner, at any Strip property. The new valet off Las Vegas Boulevard will help streamline and speedup the process, he said.
Other exterior changes will be a new state-of-the art marque that will be installed by mid-June. Already the world flags and globes have been removed from the front of the Stratosphere. In their place will eventually be outdoor advertising, Gilmartin said.
"We are remodeling to give it an update," he said. "After eight years you find out what works and what doesn't. Once we get that done we'll focus on the next five years."
Gilmartin said executives will look at the growth of the Strip, with the opening next year of Wynn Las Vegas and the continued success of Turnberry Place, and evaluate how the Stratosphere can serve the growing market, whether it is convention space or more hotel rooms. In the next couple months Stratosphere executives will begin shaping their five-year plan.
The retail addition will use an existing space that is currently vacant at the Stratosphere. That square footage is larger than an average grocery store and slightly smaller than an average Home Depot.
The Tower Shops was originally to be developed in two phases, but the second phase was never developed, Gilmartin said.
"Having 80,000 square feet of undeveloped retail space on the Las Vegas Strip creates limitless possibilities for adding innovative entertainment-themed concepts," said Denise Barton, chief financial officer and senior vice president of support services for the Stratosphere Casino Hotel and Tower.
The Stratosphere hired CB Richard Ellis, Las Vegas to develop a marketing and merchandising strategy and to handle leasing for the Tower Shops addition at the Stratosphere, it was recently announced. CB Richard Ellis also will look into re-merchandising the existing 110,000 square feet, which is about 90 percent leased.
The Tower Shops at the Stratosphere features 50 shops and 15 retail carts.