Shops at Tropicana: The Project That Never Happened

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”.

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:

Shops at Tropicana

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.

Shops at Tropicana

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.

Tropicana Shops Escalators

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.

Tropicana Shops Escalators

These babies may actually work some day…

Tropicana Shops Escalators

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.

Tropicana Shops Expansion

Is this corner targeted for the revised expansion?

Tropicana Shops 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]

About the Author

Chad Rodick
Hello, my name is Chad Rodick. I first went to Vegas in 2004 and after winning $14,000 at Tropicana, I now visit Vegas every year during the summer months. People might call me crazy, but I love going to Vegas to get away from my hometown.

4 Comments on "Shops at Tropicana: The Project That Never Happened"

  1. JACKIE FRANKLIN | August 4, 2016 at 9:49 am |

    Hope this happens soon. It would be a great addition. Ditto to the pharmacies but what else can they really make there? They need at the end of that strip.

  2. Dont know what happenned to Trop, i went there last april and most of the slot machines where out of service, kinda dissapointing, i guess is the location that doesn´t help that much.

  3. shell scott | August 4, 2016 at 7:03 pm |

    I share your “rant”!

  4. I know the complaints about the number of “pharmacies” on the Strip, but go to places like Reno or Atlantic City or Laughlin where there are none and you’ll realize how much you miss them.

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