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Construction work on the huge 2.6-acre retail and dining center in front of Bally's Las Vegas continues at a brisk pace. Workers are laying the groundwork for the open-air Grand Bazaar Shops planned to feature 150 stores, plus five separate dining ventures from chef Sam Marvin, currently set to include artisanal cupcakes, ice cream, macaroons, meats and spices.
This bazaar is inspired by Istanbul's Grand Bazaar, London's Portobello Road, Seattle's Pike Place Market and Morocco's Marrakesh Souk, with small boutique-style stores and and a very bright design topped off with mosaic-patterned roofs.
As Racked Vegas first revealed, sitting close to a stand-alone store and "Crystal Starburst" clock sculpture from jeweler Swarovski will be a two-story, 20,000-square-foot CVS pharmacy. But you won't be able to pop in for any convenience items this year. While the Grand Bazaar still hopes to debut by winter, project representatives have revealed the CVS won't be breaking ground until the end of this year. In its place will remain the temporary Tix4Tonight discount ticket booth.
Early rendering of Grand Bazaar Shops [Rendering: SPAN Architecture]
Developers of the site have defined the project as "classy" and have repeatedly had to fend off skeptical inquisitions from the local Paradise Town Advisory Board, who fear the crush of stores will devolve into a mass of souvenir and T-shirt stands.
Part of their trust issues may have originated with extreme ambition in the project's early days. A newly discovered early rendering created before construction and current design changes clearly inserts as speculative tenants the high-end retailers Louis Vuitton and Coach. No tenant of that caliber have yet to be announced by the Grand Bazaar management.
Grand Bazaar Shops [Rendering: Grand Bazaar Shops]
The Grand Bazaar has also been engaged in a recent minor conflict with the Paradise Town Board, who are not fans of the signage being proposed. The last proposal called for each individual boutique to host their own distinctive shingle. Local officials monitoring the Strip are extremely mindful of the potential visual clutter of new signs on Las Vegas Boulevard and try to keep developers in check. A January board meeting reviewing the overall design described the look as resembling a "Tijuana" market and told the bazaar team to go back to the drawing board.
Grand Bazaar Shops [Photo: Bradley Martin]
Announced tenants so far are Swatch, who operate two other watch stores on the Strip, and men's and women's outfitters Superdry, who are already residents of the Fashion Show mall. Also coming, sandals and flip flops from Brazilian-based Havaianas, a popular brand name on the Strip, now readying for their first, local branded shop, and a fashionable Italian stationery store from Campo Marzio opening only their third U.S. boutique. A late, but undefined, 2014 debut date for the site is still promised by the Grand Bazaar developers.
· All Grand Bazaar Shops Coverage [Racked Vegas]
· All Storecasting [Racked Vegas]