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Las Vegas Strip Icon Closes to Make Way for Huge New Project

Sin City has welcomed a lot of new projects, and viable locations on Las Vegas Boulevard don't stay empty very long.

The pace along the Las Vegas Strip has picked up.

Whereas the North Strip used to be a bit of a wasteland, hosting space-out second-tier casinos, kitschy gift shops, and sad (mostly) restaurants, the area has become a hotbed. 

Resorts World Las Vegas has been joined there by multiple huge developments including Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which looks set to open in late 2023 after an improbable 20-year construction plan that saw the project nearly die multiple times.

Add in a massive arena project and a revamp at Circus Circus, and what was once a pretty wide open area -- once you passed Wynn's (WYNN) signature property as well as its sister brand, Encore -- has become high-demand real estate.

That makes any available area on the Strip a hot commodity, and multiple companies have been buying up land. 

Not every development will be a massive resort casino designed to challenge Caesars Entertainment (CZR) , MGM Resorts (MGM) , Wynn, Resorts World, and the other high-end operators. But the price of land has forced every property owner to rethink whether they're maximizing their returns.

That's likely what led to the demise of Hawaiian Marketplace, an 80,000-square-foot shopping area that was designed to 'bring a taste of island-style shopping to Vegas," according to its website. 

That property closed in July and we now appear to know what's going to be built on the site.

Las Vegas Strip Lead

Say Aloha to a New Las Vegas Project

Hawaiian Marketplace was a relic. It was modeled after the International Marketplace in Honolulu, which may have been novel in its day, but it's very outdated when you can visit the massive, modern international food hall at Resorts World not all that far away.

Las Vegas has moved away from novelties and kitsch, but it has not given up on shopping. The city has become a world-class shopping destination and it seems like there can never be too many massive retail developments. 

That appears to be at least part of the plan at the former Hawaiian Marketplace site, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The New York investment firm Gindi Capital has filed paperwork to develop a 300,000-square-foot retail complex on the site, the paper reported. The project, located on the east side of Las Vegas Boulevard just south of Harmon Avenue, would be three stories tall and later could include a hotel.

"The project would reshape a busy stretch of the Strip that gets heavy foot traffic and is near several megaresorts," the paper added. "...When it announced the purchase, the firm said it was working with its design and development teams to “'unveil plans for a new flagship retail, entertainment and dining experience.'"

More Change Is Coming to the Las Vegas Strip

The site next to the proposed retail development is owned by Golden Nugget and Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta. The billionaire plans to put a high-end hotel property, likely with a casino, at the site.

Unlike the development on the North Strip, which has been sort of an open battlefield with lots of room, the billionaire's piece of land (and the Gindi retail project) sits next to Caesars' Planet Hollywood and the MGM Grand, 

"The property, at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue, is also across the street from the Aria, Vdara, and Waldorf Astoria Las Vegas hotels, upscale Shops at Crystal, and Veer Towers condominium complex," TheStreet reported earlier this year.