In my latest Las Vegas Business Press column, I talk about how the Cosmopolitan marks the beginning of an era on the Strip:
With the opening of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, some observers believe we';re seeing the end of an era. Unless the economy improves remarkably, it';s likely the last new hotel-casino that will open on the Strip for quite some time.But there’s a lot to suggest that The Cosmopolitan marks the beginning of the next phase of Las Vegas.
For one, The Cosmopolitan is the first bank-owned casino to open on the Strip. As such, it’s a sign of the new economic realities of Las Vegas. Developers are no longer getting blank checks from lenders or investors. The recent fizzled initial public stock offering by Harrah’s Entertainment now Caesars Entertainment Corp. is a less visible reminder, but The Cosmopolitan, opening after a Deutsche Bank affiliate bought the project out of foreclosure, is a skyscraping reminder that there’s life after default.
Las Vegans whose neighborhoods are dotted with foreclosed homes and who are underwater in their own mortgages, might take some solace in that.
I know this might be at odds with what most other people are saying–probably even what’s been said in some stories I’ve been quoted in–but I think it gives a different perspective on what’s going on with the Strip today.
Remember that we had about 5 years–2000 to 2005–without a major opening on the Strip, so this isn’t unprecedented. The longest drought was the 1973-1989 wait between MGM Grand and the Mirage, even though there were plenty of expansions and smaller properties (Barbary Coast is one) opening during that time.
Instead of looking backward, I thought it might be good to try to look forward and see what we can read into the future, based on how the Cosmopolitan’s shown itself to be different. Interesting thought exercise that I hope gets people thinking.