*****The Linq is under construction*****

There’s more than six months to go before it’s completed, but The Linq – the name given to Caesars Entertainment’s ersatz take on a New York City downtown hipster neighborhood – is ready for a preliminary look.  Like a seductive stripper, the project is ready to reveal just enough to tantalize you and get you excited about its next act.  And for its $550 million price tag, it probably should look just short of amazing when it’s all put together.

Opening in Early 2014

Scheduled to open in February 2014, the Linq’s outdoor promenade will be 300,000 square feet when it’s completed, and will be home to everything you would expect in Vegas outside of an actual casino: swank restaurants, luxury shopping outlets and happening performance venues.  Being built where once stood a broken-down parking garage, between The Quad (formerly The Imperial Palace) and the Flamingo, the Linq is supposed to be something new for a city that prides itself on reinventing itself every 10 minutes, it seems.

“I think people will be surprised at the excitement we’re creating,” said Linq General Manager Jon Gray, who recently showed a media crew around the construction site. “It’s a contemporary place and it feels right for this city,” Gray added.

An observation wheel – it looks basically like a ferris wheel – will sit at one end of the project, and allow visitors to survey the relatively small empire within its borders. The wheel, appropriately named the High Roller, will sit only 1,250 feet away from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.

And while the marketing hype says The Linq is meant to emulate lower Manhattan’s now-hipster-chic Meatpacking District, the streetscape is said to be patterned after Southern California retail complexes like Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade or L.A.’s The Grove, which are about as far in vibe from a meatpacking district feel as you could hope to find. But that’s what makes Vegas, Vegas: no one has to answer to any higher authority on these things, and a good number of tourists won’t be familiar with any of the originals to compare it, anyway.

Catching Tourist Passersby

The Linq’s role will be to get some of the 20 million or so pedestrian tourists who pass by the adjoining Flamingo each year to stop in and see what’s happening.  The promenade will have three distinct plazas; the one connecting newly created entrances to the Flamingo and The Quad is set to open in time for the holidays later this year.

“We want to be ready to service the New Year’s Eve crowds,” Gray said. To that end, Caesars is pushing to have a few of the eateries and boutiques ready to start selling in December as well.

Among key attractions at The Linq will be an offshoot of Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, which will occupy 25,000 square feet at the front of The Linq along the Strip next to The Quad. And that High Roller observation wheel we mentioned earlier will have 28 glass-enclosed cabins, each able to hold 40 hopefully not airsick-prone riders. The wheel will take 30 minutes to make one entire revolution.