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What's New and Next
Las Vegas doesn't have much on tap in terms of new construction. After the completion of The Cosmopolitan in early 2011, future projects struggled. At the north end of the Strip, the tower that was supposed to be Fontainebleau Las Vegas sits unfinished; at CityCenter, the tower that was to be the Harmon Hotel is nothing more than an empty shell. Plans for the Echelon, a $4.8-billion project on the site of the former Stardust hotel (near Trump International), were shelved in 2010, and owners Boyd Gaming won't comment on whether the place will ever get built. Still, at least one project appears to be moving forward—The Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace. This property, at this writing expected to be completed in early 2013, will transform the Centurion Tower at Caesars into a Japanese-themed micro-resort complete with 180 rooms, 16 suites, and a penthouse. The resort will operate as a hotel-within-a-hotel, featuring private check-in and decor that showcases natural materials. Of course the new tower will feature a Nobu Restaurant and Lounge. The eatery will be Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's first on the Strip; currently his only other Vegas restaurant is inside the Hard Rock Casino Hotel.
Then, of course, there are (potentially) imminent changes at the former site of the Sahara. This iconic hotel, which opened in 1952, shuttered its doors in May 2011 and has remained closed to the public. SBE Entertainment Group, the company that owns the Sahara, appears to be optimistic. Sam Nazarian, CEO of SBE, was quoted in the Las Vegas Sun as saying, "We are confident that we ultimately will find a creative and comprehensive new solution for this historic property."
Finally, following in the footsteps of the Smith Center and the Mob Museum, continued improvements are expected Downtown. By the end of 2012, Fitzgeralds Casino & Hotel was anticipating extensive renovations associated with rebranding itself as The D Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Farther down the road, Zappos.com is expected to move into the building that formerly served as City Hall (and bankroll major improvements in the process).
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