Las Vegas Sun

December 18, 2018

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ICSC brings flurry of retail announcements

Steve Wynn has disclosed plans for a variety of unique stores at his Wynn Las Vegas megaresort now under construction -- plans of great interest to the 34,000 retail industry executives in Las Vegas this week for the International Council of Shopping Centers convention.

The information on Wynn's retail plan comes amid a flurry of local announcements coinciding with ICSC including:

A plan by General Growth Properties to give its aging Boulevard mall a facelift.

A plan by the owner of the troubled Neonopolis attraction to sell the downtown venue.

Plans for a lifestyle center at the Vacation Village site on the southern end of the Las Vegas Strip.

The naming of tenants and other details of the Forum Shops at Caesars expansion, and plans by the Stratosphere hotel-casino to expand its retail offerings (both detailed Friday in the Las Vegas Sun).

A new name and theme for the Desert Passage mall at the Aladdin resort.

A partnership for a mall, residential units and potentially offices and a casino for land at Las Vegas Boulevard between Starr and Cactus avenues in the southern part of the valley.

As for the much-anticipated $2.4 billion Wynn Las Vegas casino resort opening next April, executives there are stressing its collection of stores won't be a mall.

"We're not a mall. It is most definitely not a mall," said Terri Monsour, senior vice president of retail for Wynn Las Vegas.

While many of the 31 stores will be centered around what Wynn Las Vegas officials describe as an esplanade, the stores and the way in which they will be built will set them apart from other Strip retail and malls, Monsour said. Some of the stores also will be placed throughout the resort.

"The retail at Wynn Las Vegas is truly a complementary part to the amazing experience that Wynn Las Vegas will bring," Monsour said.

Wynn plans about 95,000 square feet of retail stores, not including previously announced Ferrari and Maserati dealerships.

One-of-a-kind stores, and shops already in the Las Vegas market but with a uniqueness not found elsewhere, will be a part of Wynn Las Vegas.

Among the stores will be the second U.S. boutique for shoe designer Manolo Blahnik (brought to the masses through the HBO TV series "Sex and the City"). The other store is in New York City. Jean-Paul Gaultier, which sells haute couture women's clothing, will open its second U.S. store. The other is also in New York.

Oscar de la Renta, a high-end fashion designer of clothing, luxury goods, fragrances and accessories for women and men, will open his first store at Wynn Las Vegas. The Oscar de la Renta brand is currently sold in high-end department stores across the nation.

Other first stores for Las Vegas include Jo Malone (perfumes and body products), Brioni (a woman's and men's clothing designer from Italy) and Graff Jewelers.

Stores already in the market, but that will have space at Wynn Las Vegas, are Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Cartier.

Wynn is no stranger to high-end retail. He helped establish luxury shopping as a Las Vegas attraction with the opening of Via Bellagio at the Bellagio in 1998, now owned by MGM MIRAGE, with shops such as Armani, Chanel, Gucci, Tiffany, Chanel, Moschino and Prada.

Wynn complimented Venetian owner Sheldon Adelson for his recently announced sale of retail assets to General Growth Properties, a deal worth as much as $1.5 billion. But Wynn said he's not considering a similar sale of Wynn Las Vegas' retail assets.

"For him to have sold his mall, and the rights to another one (at Adelson's planned second Las Vegas resort), for that much, well, more power to Sheldon," Wynn said. "Good for him. But my approach to retail is different. We want to own our stores, at least a piece."

Wynn said the retail offerings he'll open at Wynn Las Vegas are just part of an effort to realize the former Desert Inn property's potential.

"We'll probably add another 30,000 square feet (in the property's yet-to-be officially announced expansion)," he said.

Wynn said the perimeter of the Desert Inn site, including land on Paradise Road alongside the new Wynn Las Vegas golf course under construction, is ideally situated for even more retail.

"Don't worry, we'll have plenty," Wynn said.

George Connor, senior vice president for Colliers International, Las Vegas retail division, said the mix of stores at Wynn Las Vegas can only enhance what Las Vegas already has to offer.

"Anytime you add the best of the class retail to the mix, it always elevates the entire market," he said. "For those tenants that are a replication of another location, retail is a form of entertainment and you shop at your convenience."

The Wynn Las Vegas esplanade will be at the southwest corner of the resort, easily accessible to passersby and shoppers at the Fashion Show mall, which is across the street. Plans are to have a pedestrian bridge connecting the two attractions.

Monsour said Wynn Las Vegas' retail and the Fashion Show mall, while very different, will create a synergy.

"The mix of retail is very complementary to each other," she said.

Monsour said space is 100 percent spoken for and said it was not difficult finding stores and boutiques that fit into Wynn's resort.

"Quite the opposite, the world would like to be a part of Mr. Wynn's vision and what he is doing here," she said. "We've had such strong demand and we can only have a set amount of space. We are telling people they are terrific and wonderful, but we're full."

Boulevard mall

Separately, the Boulevard mall facelift will feature a pedestrian shopping and restaurant streetscape. The mall, at Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn Road, opened in 1968 and has undergone numerous expansions and renovations in its 36 years. The latest renovation is to give the 1.2 million-square-foot mall a newer look and to give customers more amenities and better access. Construction is expected to begin this summer and to be complete in fall 2005. "There's a history to this center," said Cayse Osterlund, general manager of the Boulevard mall. "We want to update that and add to that value and enrich the shoppers experience."

Exactly how large the streetscape will be and how many stores and restaurants will be included is still being worked out, said Julie Jacoby, General Growth director of corporate communications. The expansion cost was not disclosed.

"The streetscape really addresses the lifestyle of our consumers today and the trend in the industry," Jacoby said.

Along with the streetscape addition, there will be other architectural changes. The promenade, the area that connects the west and east wings of the mall, will be widened and the roof will be raised to create a more open connection between the two wings.

The mall, which will be open during the renovation, will also undergo a complete interior renovation that will include new tile, landscaping, replacing of hard seats with soft seats, a children's play area, a remodeled food court, and the refurbishment of mall restrooms and the addition of a family restroom. Two new entrances also will be added, one on the east side near Dillard's and another on the west side of the mall near the current parking deck.

General Growth completed similar renovations to its Meadows mall in Las Vegas last year. Among the renovations to the 25-year-old mall was an updated food court, interior, lighting and restrooms.

Neonopolis

Prudential Real Estate Investors, owner of Neonopolis, said Friday it's putting the floundering downtown retail and entertainment complex up for sale.

Neonopolis has been mired in controversy and problems since it opened in May 2002.

Neonopolis, a three-story, 236,000-square-foot center, currently features several retail shops, the 40,000-square-foot Jillian's nightclub, the 71,000-square-foot Crown theater complex and two restaurants -- The Saloon and La Salsa Cantina.

The downtown property, which was heralded as the beginning of downtown redevelopment, became embroiled in a dispute earlier this year with the city after an Ohio businessman who planned to open a gay cabaret-style nightclub alleged he was discriminated against by Neonopolis' property management group.

JSS Advisors, the New-York based management firm, was later replaced by CB Richard Ellis, Las Vegas.

Theresa Miller, spokeswoman for Prudential, said CB Richard Ellis was hired to evaluate the situation.

"In the end it came down to two options, one for it to be redeveloped so it would be successful, or exit the property," she said. "Since we're not developers or redevelopers, we decided that to sell and market it would be the best option."

Miller said she did not know the asking price, and said Prudential and CB Richard Ellis are in the "extremely initial stages in marketing this."

Mark Bouchard, managing director at CB Richard Ellis, said he could not disclose the sale price.

He said despite the center's past troubles, it could make a great investment for the right developer.

"Primarily because somebody gets to look at the things they should be doing," he said. "The approach, right, wrong or indifferent, with the first group, gives them the perspective to look back and see things that didn't work, so they don't have to make the same mistake twice."

Town Square Las Vegas

The old Vacation Village site on South Las Vegas Boulevard will become a 1.2 million-square-foot "regional lifestyle center," developers Turnberry Associates of South Florida and CENTRA Properties LLC of Las Vegas announced.

Town Square Las Vegas is planned on 100 acres at the I-15/I-215 interchange and will be heavily promoted at ICSC.

"I have about 100 meetings in Vegas (this) week, most of it strictly on the Town Square, with restaurants, soft goods stores, gourmet grocery markets," said Drew Barkett, senior vice president of development and real estate for Turnberry Associates. In Las Vegas, Turnberry developed luxury condominium towers Turnberry Place and is developing The Residences at MGM Grand, a hotel-condominium project at the resort.

Earlier this year, CENTRA Properties, a local developer of office and industrial parks, and Turnberry Associates, paid $25.5 million for the shuttered Vacation Village hotel-casino and its 25-acre parcel.

CENTRA already owned 57 acres of land at the site that the company had planned for an industrial park. CENTRA also is in escrow for 14 acres owned by Clark County that splits the property. The price is $5 million, Jim Stuart, CENTRA principal, said.

The pedestrian-friendly Town Square Las Vegas will feature an array of retail shops, anchor stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, an 80,000-square-foot RAVE Motion Picture multiplex cinema, 180,000 square feet of office space and a 200-room high-end hotel. There will not be a residential component at the site, officials said.

Additional plans for the outdoor center include a carousel and pop fountains (fountains where water "pops" out of the ground).

While the site is zoned to allow gaming, the developers said they will have to wait and see if gaming will eventually be a part of the complex. Current plans do not show a gaming component.

Barkett said when CENTRA principals Stuart and Kenny Sullivan first showed him and other Turnberry executives the site, "we had to blink and pinch ourselves that this existed in Vegas."

The area, at the end of the Strip, was the site of little development and was often overlooked by retailers and developers until the Fry's Electronic store opened there in January 2003.

"I'm sure that's what made me feel so strongly of it," Barkett said. "We knew that it was one of (Fry's) top stores, and it's a standalone building with nothing around it."

Sullivan said he thinks the site is one of the best locations in the country.

"If you were going to try and pick a location for this project, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better one in the country," he said. "Each day 400,000 cars drive by the site, Las Vegas is the fastest-growing city in the country, and there are 38 million tourists down the street (annually), with a population base of almost 2 million and it is at the largest intersection in town."

Construction of Town Square Las Vegas is expected to begin in the first quarter 2005, with completion estimated for spring 2006.

Other projects

Boulevard Invest, which is made up of East Coast investors, is moving forward with plans to revamp Desert Passage at the Aladdin resort on the Las Vegas Strip with a new look and name, regardless of what happens with Aladdin's bankruptcy proceeding.

"The mall itself can standalone," Desert Passage spokeswoman Terri Maruca said. "The goal is to be a partner with the hotel entity next to them."

She said the investors' plans for the Arabian-themed mall of 140 stores and eight restaurants are separate from the plans for Aladdin. The hotel-casino is in the process of being purchased by a group headed by Robert Earl, chairman and chief executive of Orlando, Fla.-based Planet Hollywood International Inc.

Boulevard Invest purchased the mall for $240.5 million in December from Chicago-based Trizec Properties.

And Las Vegas-based Olympia Group and Simon Property Group announced they will partner to develop a mall with residential units above the shops.

The mall would be part of a mixed-use project at Las Vegas Boulevard between Starr and Cactus avenues that could include offices, a casino and residences, but is still in the research phase, Simon spokesman Les Morris said.

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