Wheeling on the Strip

Even with the recession, high unemployment and sagging gaming revenues, the Las Vegas Strip is alive in a way that no other street or city in the country is alive; it is alive with creativity and investment.  The casino building boom may have ended, but other innovations continue; casino operators in Vegas have never just sat on their hands, that is why Vegas is so exciting, it is a never-ending stream of innovations.  In July Caesars, the company formerly known and loved as Harrah’s, announced it had the permits necessary to finish its latest attraction on the Strip, an observation wheel and a shopping complex – the completed projected is expected to cost about $500 million without adding any casino space or hotel rooms.

The wheel, “Higher Roller”,  is going to be the tallest in the world and the builder hopes it will become a symbol for the city.  At 550 feet in the air it will certainly be a spectacular addition to the city’s skyline – especially to those arriving by air.  But getting attention is not all it is going to do, it is going to add a few dollars to Caesars cash flow also.  High Roller is going to have the capacity to entertain over 4000 people an hour – at $25 each – if it operated at near capacity (capacity would be 4400 people) for just 10 hours a day (in a 24 hour town that seems like a reasonable assumption to me) that would be a million dollars a day in revenue – for a structure that cost $250 million to build that is not a bad return on invested capital.  Who needs a casino anyway?  Where do I sign up for a piece of the action?

 Will High Roller observation wheel become the defining icon of Las Vegas? “I believe the High Roller has every opportunity and will transform this city as its icon. I think it will be a very complementary image for the Las Vegas skyline.” – David Codiga hopes that one day when people see the famous London Eye, they’ll think of an even larger observation wheel he’s building in Las Vegas.  Codiga, executive project director of the Linq plaza and its 550-foot-high High Roller wheel under construction just off the Las Vegas Strip, said Wednesday that he expects the Linq wheel will redefine Las Vegas the way the 443-foot London Eye has boosted tourism in London. Steve Green, Las Vegas Sun, 7-25-12

 Caesars pushing forward with High Roller observation wheel. If there was any doubt that the High Roller observation wheel was being built, Caesars Entertainment wants it put to rest right now. On Wednesday, officials with The Linq project met with local media to chat all things wheel, and not much else. The 550-foot wheel that will be the centerpiece of The Linq is taking shape adjacent to the Las Vegas Monorail line in the Imperial Palace’s backyard. Construction of the steel platform is under way, with four bases for the wheel’s legs already in place…The structure is 9 feet taller than the Singapore Flyer and 107 feet taller than the London Eye. With 28 enclosed, transparent spherical cabins that hold as many as 40 passengers each, the wheel will be able to transport up to 2,240 passengers per hour. It will take 30 minutes to make one revolution, at a cost of about $25 per person…The $550 million outdoor retail, dining and entertainment district is patterned after The Grove in Los Angeles. A third of the project budget is devoted to the High Roller. Laura Carroll, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 7-25-12



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July 2012
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