Las Vegas is constantly changing and evolving. Over 640,000 people are residents, but an astounding 42 million visited the city in 2018.
Although Vegas has a lot going for it in terms of business and local developments, it’s easy to see how most of the mega-projects are related to tourism.
Another interesting development in the story of Vegas, is that the city is now attracting a younger, less gaming orientated crowd who are more interested in other forms of entertainment.
This can be seen in the slight dips in revenue experienced by major casinos on the Strip, as well as in the fact that Macau and other cities around the world are challenging Vegas for the gaming crown.
Although Vegas is pulling in the same booming numbers of tourists as ever, the city is having to adapt to the varying demands of the clientele, as well as the local population of residents and business persons. It’s a tough balance, but Vegas is hardly shy when it comes to development.
Here we explore the changing face, skyline and entertainment culture of Las Vegas, from mega-resorts to new sports.
Las Vegas Resorts World will be the first mega-resort of its kind in Vegas. The project has not been without complication, with years of delays and recent legal battles with neighbour Wynn Resorts, but it’s expected to be open by December 2020 – if everything stays on track.
Still, Resorts World is another huge stamp on the Vegas world of entertainment, for better or worse. Malaysian-based company Genting Group are behind the Asian themed resort, which will cost a rather ludicrous $4 billion to complete.
The first phase of the project will have 3,400 rooms of accommodation, with the east and west towers reaching 60 floors high, slightly taller than the Wynn Resort. Resorts World is sure to make an impression on the Vegas skyline, as well as the customers who end up staying there. It will eventually feature a casino.
Las Vegas Stadium Set For 2020 Completion
It’s easy to see how sports could take over Vegas in a big way, especially given the new legislation around sports betting which opens up the interest around combining entertainment with betting.
Any sports fan will already be following the developments around the Las Vegas Stadium, which will soon be the home of the NFL team the Raiders.
If the stadium keeps on track with its tight build time of 31 weeks, then it should be ready by July 2020, just in time for the Raiders to start their first season in Vegas.
It’s another big moment for Vegas sports. The stadium is worth $1.8 billion and has a capacity of 65,000 seats, which can be further increased to 72,000 seats if needed.
As well as being home of the Raiders, it will be home of the UNLU football team and the Las Vegas Bowl. It could also make Vegas a possible host city for major sporting events such as the Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, NCAA Final Four, NFL Draft, USA Rugby Sevens and more.
Possible MLB Franchise In Vegas?
Rumours have abounded for a while now that there will be an MLB team coming to Las Vegas. The MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said during The Don Patrick Show in 2018 that “Vegas is a viable expansion alternative. I think it’s big enough.”
Vegas has had a boost of interest in sports as of recent years, starting with the NHL team the Golden Knights, who became the first ever Vegas-based ice hockey team when they relocated for the 2017 – 18 season. The Golden Knights went on to finish first in the Pacific conference, and came runners-up in the final of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Raiders will also soon be making their mark on Vegas when they take up residence in the Las Vegas Stadium (mentioned below). Could there yet be more from the world of sports?
According to Vital Vegas, there could be a MLB expansion team coming to Vegas by as early as the 2020 season. If the rumours have any truth, an official announcement will be made following the World Series 2019, which this year is thought to be a close race between a few teams, including the Houston Astros, LA Dodgers and NY Yankees.
If a new venue is to be built, then it could be around the South Point area. The MLB could be a great move for Vegas, and Vegas could be a great partner for the MLB.
It’s relatively easy to develop in the city and there’s a proven interest in sports thanks to the success of the Golden Knights. However, the financial viability of the undertaking would be cause for concern. Could the sports market become saturated, and is there room for a new MLB team?
Convention Centre Expansion and Underground Transport
The Las Vegas Convention Centre is already the largest single story convention centre in the world, with over 1.9 million square feet of exhibit and meeting space.
The centre has hosted major sports events, trade shows, gigs and conventions, and has succeeded in its initial goal of bringing more visitors to the city during quieter times.
The convention centre has already undergone several rebuilds and major expansions during its history. Actually, this one will be its 14th expansion. This time the Vegas Convention Centre will be getting a boost of around $900 million.
The expansion will add around half a million sq. ft. of space, including a new exhibit room spanning the entire length of the South Hall, new facades and walkways, police and fire facilities and improved pedestrian access to the monorail.
The expansion is expected to be complete by 2021, after which the building should be around 2 miles in length. Then the existing centre will undergo renovation.
Adding a bit of awe to the project, the Las Vegas Convention Centre and Visitors Authority announced in March 2019 that they were in talks with Elon Musk’s Boring Company.
The plan is to build an underground shuttle around the huge convention centre, with autonomous pods dropping passengers off at between 3 – 5 stops around the campus.
This could eventually be expanded to up to 24 stops, including Las Vegas Boulevard, Vegas Stadium and McCarran International Airport.
The project has now been confirmed and is expected to cost between an estimated $35 – $55 million. This will be the Boring Company’s first customer.
This is a clearly a huge project, and one that shows that Vegas is moving in multiple directions, business and conventions included.
New Mega Hotels In Vegas
There are also several new hotels and hotel expansions in the pipeline for Vegas developments in 2020 and beyond.
The Majestic will sit within walking distance of the Las Vegas Convention Centre, and will eventually feature 720 rooms, with six corporate sky suites, a courtyard with six restaurants, and a rooftop skypool area, all within the 45-story tower that will sit on the site of the old Carion.
The Majestic is a non-gaming hotel, again pushing Vegas in a direction away from the casinos. The luxurious outdoor style of the hotel is sure to pull in overspill from large conferences and trade events.
Guests will have to wait until 2023 to experience the Majestic for themselves. There are a lot of cheaper hotels in Vegas, but this one will be higher end.
Another upcoming hotel is the Circa on the west side of Fermont Street. This is an example of a high-class development happening in the Downtown area, and will be the largest tower on the north of the Strip.
Far from heading in a different direction, Circa will feature its own sportsbookies, with huge screens and in-house broadcasting attracting sports and betting fans. The 777 rooms and suites are being touted as the most luxurious in the district.
The Downtown Grand will also be having a decent expansion, adding a 250,000 sq. ft. hotel tower, with 500 rooms over 7 floors.
The tower will connect directly to the rooftop pool of Circa. It is expected to finish in mid-2020, shortly before the Circa opens its doors in late 2020.
Fountainebleau, one of the biggest eyesores on the Strip for years after development ceased, will finally open as The Drew. The Marriot Hotel will feature the latest Edition branding and have its own half a million sq. ft. convention centre.
The Hard Rock Hotel has been bought by Richard Branson, and will become a Virgin Hotel, while the SLS will be rebranded back as the Sahara, as well as receiving $100 million investment to improve the casino and hotel rooms.
Changing Face Of Vegas
Las Vegas is still attracting tens of millions of visitors a year, yet gaming figures are dropping as the destination becomes known not just for casinos, but also for its luxury hotels, conferences and trade shows, and increasingly for its sports teams.
There is a clear interaction between the city’s developments and the city’s tourism and culture. With the upcoming expansions and the building of major sports stadiums, Vegas is becoming a more diverse place economically, and visitors also experience this change.