The largest employer and biggest company in Las Vegas, MGM, completed its City Center complex a few years ago (except for the Harmon Hotel thing). The second largest company is Caesars Entertainment has just announced its next large project, not quite as big as City Center, but for more than I could spend. The Linq is a $550,000,000 “outdoor retail, dining and entertainment district patterned after The Grove in Los Angeles and anchored by the world’s tallest observation wheel.”
It will be constructed in the center of the Strip on the east side, across from Caesar’s Palace between the Imperial Palace and the Flamingo. Currently O’Shea’s casino is located there, and it will be demolished to make room for the new stuff. I wandered through O’Shea’s a few times, the only notable thing about that small casino was their on-staff Leprechaun, dressed in green standing out front trying to entice people to enter and get some cold beer. The Imperial Palace will receive a major facelift and be renamed and the Flamingo will get a new entryway.
Caesar’s Entertainment is trying to provide an entertainment destination for the ‘younger’ crowd, those that don’t find acres of slot machines appealing but would rather have multiple things to do. Drawings show a mixture of rides, bars and restaurants along with the big wheel. (Don’t call it a ‘Ferris Wheel’; it’s an ‘Observation Wheel’). Caesar’s Entertainment covers Caesar’s Palace, Harrah’s, Planet Hollywood, Paris, the Flamingo, Rio, Imperial Palace, Bally’s and several other casinos.
Along with the announcement Caesar’s said they have all the plans and money in place, would be applying for permits and be ready to start construction almost immediately. This would create several thousand construction jobs which would be great as all other construction has halted. However, because of the lack of jobs most construction people have moved out of Nevada looking for work. I don’t know who is around to do that work. Then it would provide 1,500 permanent jobs.
The Wheel would be 550 feet high, 107 feet taller than the London Eye, with 40 passengers in each glass sphere. I don’t know if people will pay $20 (or whatever they end up charging) just to go up and down slowly, but the planners must expect riders. The rest of the design looks pretty nice, and will create a fun destination that doesn’t include just gambling. It should take two years to build, so the next time you come to Vegas you’ll have an additional place to take up some of your time.