and Gordon Group Holdings Inc

That the word in Las Vegas where the gaming crowd is scurrying to build entertainment

LAS VEGAS From a concrete slab high above Las Vegas Boulevard, Robert Goldstein peers down at hotels and palm trees, scans the steel beams shaping his casino resort and smiles the smile of a gambler sure of his odds.

His company’s $2 billion Venetian hotel and casino will open next spring on the site of the old Sands Hotel, where Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack once came to play. In Sinatra’s heyday, as for most of its history, Vegas, home of 24 hour blackjack, feather clad showgirls and all you can eat buffets, has never been known as a shopping mecca especially not fake designer bags shopping like this.

Picture visitors to the Venetian gliding through a 1,200 foot long canal in gondolas and drifting in and out of trendy shops and cafes centered on a replicated Venetian landmark, St. Mark’s Square, with soaring, skylike ceilings.

Goldstein, senior vice president of Las Vegas Sands Inc., says the retail success of the Grand Canal Shoppes, an

800,000 square foot enclosed mall planned as the resort’s centerpiece, depends on blending a little bit of Hollywood with a lot of in your face Vegas flamboyance. After all, this is a town that gave us a hotel built like the skyline of Manhattan.

“It goes beyond shopping,” Goldstein said while leading a potential retail tenant through rubble that will be transformed into Venice in the desert. “It is the fun of being there, of seeing people in gondolas. Las Vegas is about fantasy, escapism, fun.”

Casino operators, realizing the powerful draw of upscale, themed retail, are rushing to build entertainment oriented malls and anchor them not with Saks or Macy’s, but with casinos. It’s the Vegas version of “shoppertainment,” the potent mix of themed shopping, dining and entertainment that is transforming decaying downtowns and outdated malls across the country.

Besides the Venetian, other multibillion dollar projects include plans for Desert Passage, a turn of the century, North African themed shopping extravaganza with the sights and sounds of a Sultan’s Palace 1:1 replica handbags , high quality designer replica handbags an opulent Lost City and a village market; the Bellagio, a soon to open luxury hotel featuring fake louis bag exclusive shops lining a lakefront; Neonopolis, a megaplex anchored , open air plaza at Las Vegas’ renovated downtown pedestrian mall; and the Fremont Street Experience, which offers casinos and hotels but little shopping or dining.

Developers view such centers as magnets for the hotels and gaming that dominate this city’s economy.

“There’s a synergistic relationship,” said Michael Beyard, vice president for strategic development for the Urban Land Institute.

“The more attractions you have within a hotel, the larger high quality designer replica handbags wholesale number of people you’ll have coming in, the longer they’ll stay and the more money they’ll spend.

“The casinos see that family entertainment and activities, in particular retailing, have a huge impact on the bottom line. These are extremely lucrative new sources of revenue in addition to gaming. It’s a huge, huge market.”

The surge of retail development dovetails with this city’s efforts to cast itself as an entertainment destination as opposed to a place just for gamblers especially as other destinations have elbowed in on Las Vegas’ once exclusive gaming territory.

“One reason why the Designer Louis Vuitton Replica Handbags big gaming companies and hotel casinos wanted retailing and entertainment was the fact that other markets were opening to gaming,” Beyard said. “Las Vegas had to be something even more.”

At the same time, the spending habits of Las Vegas’ 30 million annual visitors have been shifting, with nongaming spending on hotels, shopping and dining generating an increasing percentage of revenue for casino hotels.

Last year, gaming establishments reported that nongambling revenue accounted for 44.4 percent of their $10.6 billion total, 6 percent more than in 1990. “People are coming here to gamble, but you can’t gamble 24 hours a day.

“Visitors have discretionary money, and they like to shop. Shopping and dining go hand in hand, and that has mushroomed in Las Vegas.”

The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, developed by Simon DeBartolo Group Inc. and Gordon Group Holdings Inc. on 12 acres along the Strip next to the Mirage hotel, pioneered the casino anchored mall six years ago amid skepticism about whether high end retail could work here.

It did. mall.

The center, which leases space from Caesars Palace, doubled in size last year to 105 shops and restaurants and plans another phase, a multilevel specialty retail, restaurant and entertainment complex shoppers would enter through a 150 foot high re creation of aaa replica designer handbags the Pantheon.

“The 1:1 replica handbags Forum Shops Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags takes a typical regional mall concept and replaces the major department stores with two of the best casinos in Las Vegas the Mirage and Caesars,” said David Brotman, the Los Angeles based vice chairman of Baltimore based RTKL Associates Inc., architects for Desert Passage.

“You have nothing but people with a lot of money to spend traveling back and forth between shops with wonderful presentation, a fun environment that’s tied in with the notion of ‘you’re in Las Vegas and on holiday.’ ”

On a Saturday afternoon at Caesars Palace, the Fake Louis Vuitton Replica Bags casino is bustling with high rollers and quarter slots players. But just off one exit, shoppers wander through the Forum’s cobbled streetscapes, modeled after ancient Rome, under a domed faux sky that changes color with the time of day.

Tables spill from trendy restaurants with names such as Spago and Chinois, and waiting lists abound.

Here, in stores set in buildings with balconies and red tile roofs, shoppers can find $600 silk sweaters or designer wear by Armani, Versace or Louis Vuitton. There also are such staples as Gap, Victoria’s Secret and Ann Taylor, and multilevel superstores Niketown, Virgin Megastore replica louis vuitton bags from china and FAO Schwarz, with a two story, fire breathing Trojan horse and life size Barbie dolls.

In a domed rotunda Discount Replica Louis Vuitton Bags , parents lift children to their shoulders and crowd around the Festival Fountain as sculptures of high quality replica handbags china Roman gods come to life, strumming lyres, gesturing, telling stories.

The show goes on a few feet away from the commotion at the Just for Feet store. Sneaker clad employees do the twist on counter tops, while a customer belts out a karaoke version of “Brown Eyed Girl,” following lyrics on a video screen. Others shoot hoops on a Plexiglas court above customers’ heads.

When the center opened, “the skeptics were out there saying, ‘The Forum Shops? We don’t get it. They don’t come to Las Vegas to shop. They come to gamble, or to see a show,’ ” recalled Maureen Taylor Crampton, marketing director. “They didn’t understand the concept. Now, they’re eating their words.”.

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