Chad Rodick wonders whatever happened to “Shops at Tropicana” … (Co-written by Sammasseur).
Back in 2011, Tropicana Hotel Casino announced a retail space that would also serve as a new entry and frontage for the resort. Tropicana stated that it would invest $100 million to build this 275,000-square-foot shopping/dining concept. They named the project “Shops at Tropicana”.
The resort sits at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd & Tropicana Avenue, where over 100,000 people pass by every day. Tropicana is serviced by two pedestrian bridges, connecting the resort to Excalibur & MGM Grand. It seemed somewhat understandable to want to capitalize on all that walk-up traffic. However:
The mall, when opened, would feature three levels. One floor would be restaurants. Celebrity Chef Robert Irvine was rumored to have an interest in those spaces. You’ll now see his beefy image plastered to the side of their tower, announcing a restaurant for 2017.
The second floor, if you can believe it, would be another Walgreens or CVS Pharmacy (doesn’t the strip already have enough of those and then some?).
Last but not least, the mezzanine level was to accommodate 30 stores and a new entrance into the resort. Responsibility for operating these incoming businesses would be handled by retail leasing firm RKF.
Side Rant: I don’t understand why Vegas keeps coming up with the name “The Shops.” Everywhere you look in Las Vegas, you see the same old “The Shops.” We might as well rename the Strip as “The Shops Blvd”. Rant over…
Construction was supposed to start in 2014, with a targeted opening of 2015. Of course, that all seemed to change when the Trop was acquired by Penn National Gaming in 2013. Perhaps Penn National didn’t feel the need to invest more $$$$ when a recent…and extensive…$180 million remodel was received with a bit of a yawn.
We do know that one longtime and highly-placed exec, who helped to champion the Shops at Tropicana concept, departed the resort not long after Penn National took over. While there may not be a connection, we were told that some on the Tropicana team were strongly opposed to the retail expansion.
As we jump into 2016, the only construction you’re now sure to see on this corner is the ongoing replacement of perpetually-broken escalators and aging pedestrian bridges. That project is spearheaded by the Nevada Department of Transportation, not the resorts.
These babies may actually work some day…
Unfortunately for fans of new Vegas retail outlets, NDOT isn’t in the retail business. So you’re going to have to get your toothbrush and souvenir shot glasses at one of the hundreds of other retail outlets nearby.
Then again, the official project description DOES call for coordination with Tropicana for resort expansion and redevelopment. Eater Las Vegas revealed last month that the original expansion project has been tweaked/downsized…and that Robert Irvine‘s incoming restaurant will be part of the newly-revised concept.
Is this corner targeted for the revised expansion?
So, it looks like Shops of Tropicana might still happen in one form or another. Stay tuned.
(Additional reporting by “Sammasseur”)
Images: [Photos by Sammasseur, Renderings by RKF, Nevada Dept. of Transportation]