Caesars set to break ground on $500 million Strip project

Linq development to include observation wheel, entertainment district next to Flamingo

Courtesy Caesars Entertainment

An artist’s rendering looking directly east from Las Vegas Boulevard into the proposed restaurant/entertainment district, part of the overall Project Linq that connects Imperial Palace, left, to the Flamingo, right.

Project Linq

An artist's rendering of the proposed restaurant/entertainment district Project Linq. Launch slideshow »

Construction will begin this month on a $500 million mid-Strip development that will include a 550-foot observation wheel — developers insist it not be called a Ferris wheel — and a restaurant-entertainment district linking the Imperial Palace and Flamingo resorts.

Clark County commissioners approved the 18-month “Linq” project Wednesday, giving Caesars Entertainment the green light to break ground, said Marybel Batjer, Caesars Entertainment vice president of public policy and communications.

Design and construction of the observation wheel — its 28 cabins will each carry up to 40 people — will be a technical feat on par with the construction of San Francisco’s Bay Bridge, Batjer said.

“This takes that kind of thoroughness,” she said. “Only a few engineering firms in the world are capable of doing this.”

The project also involves the “re-skinning” of the Imperial Palace and O’Sheas, giving the businesses new facades, and the creation of 326,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment venues between the Imperial Palace and the Flamingo.

Representing Caesars Entertainment before the commission, attorney Tabitha Fiddyment said the project will cost about $500 million and “completely change this area of Las Vegas Boulevard … it’s going to entirely revitalize it.”

The project will employ 3,000 construction workers; when it’s complete it will create 1,500 new jobs.

Asked why Caesars Entertainment is doing the project now, as Las Vegas and Nevada remain in the grips of recession, Batjer said reinvention is what Las Vegas is known for.

“None of us in Las Vegas ever sits on our laurels,” Batjer said. “You continue to develop and bring new visions to this terrific place.”

When finished, Batjer said the area between the resorts will become an urban gathering place akin to the Meatpacking District of Manhattan, Fulton Street in New Orleans and South Beach in Miami.

The Linq observation wheel is the second planned for the Strip. In May, developer Howard Bulloch of Compass Investments broke ground in construction of a 500-foot-tall wheel across Las Vegas Boulevard from Mandalay Bay. Completion is expected in the first half of 2013.

Commissioners said they hope the Linq development is a “green shoot,” signaling economic development will begin throughout the county.

“It will create thousands of jobs, both construction and permanent, and be another amenity on the Las Vegas Strip for tourists to visit and enjoy,” Commissioner Steve Sisolak said. “It will also provide an economic stimulus to county revenues.”

Commissioner Larry Brown added: “This project is another sign of growing confidence in the Las Vegas market. A $400 million investment, thousands of new jobs — the type of commitment that builds tremendous momentum for our economy.”

Project approval came a day after the commission voted to create a committee that will spend the next few months figuring out how to address a sense of disorder on the Strip, including how to keep it physically clean and dealing with a growing number of unlicensed peddlers crowding sidewalks and irritating tourists. The committee will consist of representatives from the district attorney’s office, Metro Police, casinos and a handful of county agencies.

Tags: Linq
Business

CORRECTION: Due to incorrect information provided, the Sun reported that Caesars Entertainment's observation wheel, planned as part of the Linq Project, would hold 32 cabins with a capacity of 30 people each. The wheel will actually hold 28 cabins with a capacity of 40 people each. | (October 15, 2012)

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  1. Will it clean up this area?

    When I have walked through this location, it's loud and carnival like and to me, not what the Strip used to be and could be again.

    Maybe it's useless to even try to think it could be classy along this stretch ever again.

  2. How about a skybridge from one Ceasars property (Harrahs to Ceasars) to the other over Las Vegas Blvd? Ceasars is irresponsible for allowing so many tourists to cross Las Vegas Blvd. The city should close all crosswalks on Las Vegas Blvd and force tourists to walk to the next Skybridge.
    Also Harrahs, the Flamingo and the Imperial Palace consistently come up on Travel Review websites as having Dumpy Rooms. I guess the lights from the Carnival shining into the windows will make everything look better.

  3. On of these Ferris Wheels will become a white elephant. I'm guessing it will be the Caesars wheel because you have to walk so far to get on it....

  4. Just a quick note: The wheel has already passed FAA muster.

  5. So what you are saying Ben is that the public is to stupid to use common sense and cross the street by their self? They need the government to block the path and private industry to spend millions of dollars to make them safe because they are not smart enough to do it their self.

    Good idea, blame others for your lack of sense.

  6. While I agree Skywalks would be nice, I am constantly amazed by the naysayers who bad mouth private enterpise endeavors. I have found that, usually, these folks have absolutely no business experience and have never invested a penny in a business venture. In other words, they are ignorant about business & how it works. As for forcing Harrah's to spend money on a Skywalk, that's the leftist liberal's attitude about most everything. I want something or think something is necessary but I want YOU to pay for it. That attitude is a major reason the US is going down the financial toilet.

  7. True LVfacts, unlike the GOP that puts 2 wars on a credit card and never worries about paying for it.
    Or big GOP being so worried about profits Americans have no more manufacturing jobs b/c they are now all in China.
    Good work GOP..
    Bill Left George W. 5 Trillion in surplus- Where is it? Where is the 14 Trillion GB spent?
    Could it be the taxes rich people are not paying?

  8. Hooray for Caesars! Exactly the kind of bold private initiative we need.

    The only downside is this will probably keep our politicians complacent about diversifying the economy; and big projects for film, solar, high tech, etc will continue to be lost to other states.

  9. People need to stop complaining and be happy they are building something other than houses in this city again. They can build a "bridge to nowhere" for all I care as long as it's funded with PRIVATE money.

  10. I see this as good news. Except traffic and construction will be a nightmare.