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Bally's Grand Bazaar Shops Closer to Breaking Ground

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Grand Bazaar Shops
Grand Bazaar Shops
Rendering: Grand Bazaar Shops

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The multi-million dollar question is exactly which type of shopper will be targeted by the forthcoming Grand Bazaar Shops taking over the entire 2.6 acres front of the Bally's resort. In the works since early 2012, this open air mall stuffed with new retail has stopped and started without actually breaking ground for the last 20 months.

Described as a "21st century bazaar," the retail center cites Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, London's Portobello Road, Seattle's Pike Place Market and Morocco's Marrakesh Souk as inspirations.

The current under-utilized frontage of Ballys' includes water fountains and a long pedestrian walkway with sometimes working escalators leading to the set-back casino. The Grand Bazaar will remove them all. Small uniformly designed shops, a compact 100-square-foot each, will fit into three outdoor shaded and climate-controlled shopping precincts. By the Bally's entrance there will be at least nine mini-restaurants, similar to an open-air food court.

The retailers' roofs will become part of a light show, attempting to wrestle attention away from the famed fountains directly across the street at the Bellagio. And now, a mysterious attraction named "a giant Crystal Starburst" has been added to make it New Year's Eve every night at midnight.

Grand Bazaar Shops [Rendering: Grand Bazaar Shops]

A current Website features new, recently added renderings, but little concrete updates on what the premise will really feel like.

During a 2012 Planning Commission meeting, a project representative tried to explain the up-market dream of the Bazaar and repeatedly tried to put aside fears this was similar to the pop-up carts found in the middle of malls. The Commission also feared it would devolve into a mess of T-shirt shops, best exemplified by the Hawaiian Marketplace further down the Strip.

Bally's explained that the Commissioners should imagine current high-end shops on the Strip, similar to Coach or Ralph Lauren, were holding a trunk shop inside these 10 x 10 stores and were only showing off their "six hottest things." Another example to help sway the skeptical Commission was if Hermes opened a seasonal store and displayed their latest fall line.

Early renderings of the tenants presented at this meeting included fake names and logos that were transparently meant to suggest companies such as Uniqlo would feel right at home. While none of these brand names were announced as having signed onto the project in front of Clark County commissioners, Bally's were more than happy to give the impression they were the sort of tenant they were actively pursuing.

The Bazaar, they said, would be low inventory with hot styles where everything is easy to see and not cluttered inside a very pedestrian friendly mall. That will be useful, since the Bazaar predicts 20 million visitors would stroll the shops yearly.

Grand Bazaar Shops [Rendering: Grand Bazaar Shops]

While all that took place to convince the skeptics, over the past two years site surveys have been conducted, the architectural designs have changed and the total number of stores has shrunk from 270 to today's "more than 150 shops." But no sign of further progress, until now.

November has been filled with a flurry of new permit applications for the Bazaar, including plans, structural inspection and dust management for when they start the demolition. Three structures have been assigned estimated construction costs of $6,983,460, $4,670,215 and $2,625,321, even at this early stage.

With the ongoing enormous remodeling of its hotel casino neighbor, formerly Bill's Gamblin' Hall, then briefly Gansevoort Las Vegas, and now perhaps Drai's, maybe now is a perfect time to make more of a mess on that corner.
· All Storecasting [Racked Vegas]

Grand Bazaar Shops

3645 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas, NV