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Best of Howard Stutz
Howard Stutz
 

Thank You Kindly, Neighbor

11 May 2005

While the new kid on the block has received the bulk of the admiration, older neighbors are getting renewed attention.

Less than two weeks after the unveiling of Wynn Las Vegas, Fashion Show mall general manager Jared Chupaila said Tuesday the impact the $2.7 billion across-the-Strip neighbor is having on the center's 250 tenants is easily measurable by one criterion: the number of pedestrians passing through the corridors.

Since the resort's April 28 opening, the mall's average daily foot traffic has grown 20 percent.

"That's same day versus a year ago," Chupaila said. "We even went back to the place two weeks prior to the Wynn opening and the impact is clear. Wynn has brought a lot more people into the Fashion Show."

The next question is obvious: Are those potential customers becoming shoppers?

"I think we'll need a longer case study, maybe a month or six months, to help us determine that answer," Chupaila said. "Even if they are buying just a Coke at the ABC Store, it's good for the Fashion Show."

The opening of the 2,716-room Wynn Las Vegas was expected to drive attention, and customers, north of Spring Mountain Road, benefiting older hotel-casinos, such as the New Frontier, Riviera and Stardust.

Strip pedestrian traffic has steadily increased in the last 12 days, especially on weekends, which has forced Wynn Las Vegas to hire officers through the Metropolitan Police Department's Special Events Office to help its security staff with crowd control near the main driveway entrance.

The increased Strip crowds have also helped the neighboring New Frontier. Hotel executives said casino and restaurant revenues have jumped since the end of April.

Although many people are using the hotel's parking lot as easy access to the Strip's newest hotel, that doesn't mean the rest of the New Frontier is being ignored. at before the Wynn opening, about 70 percent of Maggiano's customers were Las Vegas Valley residents. He said the new customers are mostly tourists attracted by the restaurant's site across the street from the rear of Wynn Las Vegas' signature mountain.

With Wynn Las Vegas populated by high-priced restaurants run by popular celebrity chefs, seating times have been tough to come by. Also, value-conscious Strip visitors may experience sticker shock at the price of a meal.

"Some of our customers have made comments about the overall prices at the Wynn restaurants," Gerarde said.

While executives from retailer Neiman Marcus are pleased with the increased customer traffic, the store is preparing for a second wave with the opening of an overhead pedestrian bridge that spans the Strip and runs parallel to Spring Mountain Road.

The bridge, which may be finished by June, will empty right into the department store.

"We're not at liberty to talk about our numbers, but with the boost in foot traffic since Wynn opened, we're beating our business plans rather easily," Neiman Marcus public relations manager Roger Martinez said. "Once the bridge is complete, we're going to see another impact that will increase our foot traffic."

Chupaila said he is confident crowds will remain when the freshness of Wynn Las Vegas subsides.

"Time will tell, but the pedestrian traffic has given wonderful exposure for our retail that faces Las Vegas Boulevard," Chupaila said. "We have plans and projects that will further enhance the plaza by adding a little more entertainment."