Las vegas mall

Las Vegas Mall will take inspiration from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar


LAS VEGAS >> Las Vegas, where the only rule of design seems to be that everything must reflect something else, has a new shopping center modeled on Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.

Construction began this week in the Grand Bazaar stores outside Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The 2-acre outdoor mall is slated to open next fall at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Boulevard in the heart of the Strip.

Developer Larry Siegel describes the project as a sanitized, glitzy version of a traditional Middle Eastern market.

“These are really interesting places where people can gather, and it’s a real experience in terms of the sights, sounds and smells. This is what we are trying to create here in a more sophisticated and modern way, ”he said.

The mall will include a spice market, butcher’s shop and the first Swarovski store that will allow customers to haggle for crystals.

Other hyper-specific themes rolling out to the Strip this year include an Eastern European Glass Factory-themed theater and a China-themed casino, which is expected to include a replica of the Great Wall of China and home to living pandas.

The Grand Bazaar stores will include around 150 small retail spaces, 40% of which have already been leased. It will compete with several other strip malls, including the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, with around 160 stores, and the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Casino, with 170 stores.

The Bazaar team isn’t alone in betting on increased interest in Las Vegas retailing. Last month, the Treasure Island Hotel & Casino announced it would be ending its free pirate show to make way for new shops, which are also slated to open in fall 2014.

Business has never been better in the Strip malls, according to David Hoenemeyer, president of Bally’s, Paris and Planet Hollywood, all owned by Caesars Entertainment Corp.

“The customer these days is looking for more than the gaming experience,” he said. “The customer has changed, and while they are concerned about the game, it is not always in the foreground. “

It remains to be seen whether tourists will brave the 107-degree heat common during the Las Vegas summer to shop at the stores they might find in the indoor malls of a few casinos. Hoenemeyer insists the foggers will make a difference, and says it’s dry heat anyway.

Las Vegas is increasingly seeking to beat its reputation for confinement.

MGM Resorts International is spending $ 100 million to build a park outside of its New York-New York and Monte Carlo casinos. Caesars plans its own outdoor shopping and dining “neighborhood” on the Strip. This project, Linq, is anchored by a 550-foot-high observation wheel scheduled to open in 2014.

Shops will feature brightly colored tile roofs, designed as shade structures, but also as advertisements built for a city where key customers see things from above, in their high-rise hotel rooms. Each evening, a 4,000 pound crystal ball outside the Swarovski store will perform a light show.

The new mall is expected to cost $ 50 million, or about half of a lavish Strip nightclub. Casino executives are hoping this will draw players to Bally’s, which has just undergone a $ 32 million renovation. Bally’s is set back from the street and has always struggled with foot traffic.

If the concept works, Siegel, who has developed shopping centers in Canada and Spain, says he plans to open Grand Bazaars in other cities.

“I think people will come from all over Las Vegas and beyond to experience this,” he said.


Hannah Dreier can be reached at