Construction began this week on a Turkish-style shopping bazaar in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip.
Scheduled to open next year, the two-acre open-air mall will front Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino at Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard. The model is Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, but expect American chain stores and misters to keeps shoppers cool in the scorching desert heat.
One of the highlights of the mall, called The Grand Bazaar Shops, will be a Swarovski store allowing shoppers to haggle over jewels, while a 4,000 pound crystal ball outside the store will entertain patrons. The mall will encompass 150 small retail spaces, about the same amount of stores at the malls in Caesars Palace and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood.
Vegas malls like the ones at Caesars and Miracle Mile are posting record profits, which helped convince developers to plunk another one on the Strip. Caesars' parent company is in the midst of building the Linq, another outdoor mall, albeit without an exotic theme. MGM, meanwhile, is building a $100 million park near its New York-New York and Monte Carlo resorts, hoping to lure more visitors away from the slots and tables.
"The customer these days is looking for more than the gaming experience," Caesars Entertainment Corp. president David Hoenemeyer told the Associated Press. "The customer's changed, and though gaming may be on their mind, it's not always on the forefront."