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In Las Vegas, where the stakes are based on flamboyancy, richness and wizardry, each new development is a stand-alone destination offering accommodation, retail and gaming. As the spotlight shines on these new developments, light is also shed on nearby neighbors.

At the end of last month, the $2.7-billion Wynn Las Vegas was unveiled. With 75,000 sf of retail space, the Wynn offers grand-scale names Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Manolo Blahnik and Cartier, just to name a few. The development and its retailers, not surprisingly, are bringing an influx of visitors to the area, but Wynn is not the only one to profit from the success.

Located directly across the Strip in the shadow of Wynn sits the 1.9 million-sf Fashion Show mall, a 250-tenant shopping center. Since Wynn’s grand opening, the mall has experienced a whirlwind of activity.

Mall representatives say that following Wynn’s grand opening, pedestrian traffic increased 20% overnight. The largest benefactor from the opening proved to be the mall’s restaurants, especially those facing Las Vegas Boulevard from the plaza. Maggiano’s Little Italy, for example, saw sales spike 30% a day after the Wynn opening, and profits have remained consistent ever since.

It’s quite a change considering Fashion Show’s past. Prior to Wynn, the malls’s primary clientele was made up of local residents. It offered the typical business hours, goods and services found in regional malls, observers say.

“Fashion show was challenged because 70% of its customers were local,” says George Connor, senior vice president of retail properties at Colliers International-Las Vegas. “They closed early, and didn’t have a lot of traffic. They lost a large window of customers that having a resource like Wynn in close proximity can offer.”

But the list of high-profile neighbors doesn’t stop at Wynn. Sitting next to the Fashion Show mall is Kansas developer Phil Ruffin’s site. Recently, Ruffin announced his joint venture with real-estate mogul Donald Trump and their twin-tower high-rise hotel/condominium project.

Ruffin has additional plans to redevelop the New Frontier Hotel Casino, which is also located on the site. Though he could not disclose definitive plans for the redevelopment, Ruffin says his new project will include 750,000 sf of retail, 110,000 sf of casino, and 3,000 rooms. All of which, he says, will complement the mall.

“The Wynn piece is increasing traffic flow to the site, and we’re on ground zero for the next development,” Ruffin tells GSR. “Las Vegas is on fire right now. The numbers are outstanding; even the Frontier is doing well. It’s a shame we have to tear it down, but to compete we have to do it.”

In addition to the new developments, an overhead bridge that spans the Strip will soon open, depositing even more visitors to the area.

“Foot traffic from the Wynn has been absolutely wonderful,” says Roger Martinez, public relations manager for the Neiman Marcus department store at the Fashion Show. “Then there is going to be a second wave when the bridge connecting the properties is complete. And the Trump tower is going to be another wonderful addition, not to mention that Ruffin is going to be right there.”

Milinda Martin, spokeswoman for Robinsons-May department store concedes, saying the Fashion Show store continues to out-perform its plan because of the redevelopment in the mall as well as the continued growth in the area.

“In the past decade, we’ve seen an expansion of retailers in the mall’s area, and this has only served to bring additional customers to the mall,” she says. “Likewise, our store saw positive results from the previous mall renovations and expansions and we anticipate the same beneficial outcome from the current plans.”

Foreseeing the upcoming dramatic increase in visibility, Fashion Show owner General Growth Properties recently completed a $1 billion renovation that was years in the making and doubled the development’s size. The upgrade added about 300,000-sf of small-shop space. The mall also extended its hours of operation to serve Las Vegas tourists.

“Retail in Las Vegas is a form of entertainment. Most people don’t come to Vegas to sleep, and shopping–like the shows and restaurants–is a part of the Las Vegas experience,” Colliers’ Connor says. “When you visit the specialty malls in Vegas, you don’t have a needs list, its more impulsive buying. Fashion Show is more of a needs-list kind of mall so it’s becoming a hybrid. It wasn’t made for tourists, but it’s becoming that way.”

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