$32.8 Million Fremont Street Experience Canopy Upgrade Approved by Las Vegas City Council

Posted on: March 24, 2018, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: March 24, 2018, 10:34h.

The Fremont Street Experience is about to undergo a nearly $33 million renovation to upgrade its canopy LED display, the district’s main attraction.

Fremont Street Experience canopy LED
The Fremont Street Experience canopy will soon shine even brighter. (Image: Brian Jones/Las Vegas News Bureau)

The LED upgrade will make the canopy seven times brighter and four times sharper. The spectacle will improve from its current arrangement of 700 nits to 5,000 nits.

A nit is a measurement of visible-light intensity. At 5,000 nits, the LED canopy will be viewable during daylight hours.

“During the summer, we have to wait until 8 o’clock to turn the lights on,” Fremont Street Experience (FSE) CEO Patrick Hughes told the Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday, as he petitioned the agency to approve tax-exempt bonds to help fund the project.

City Council later voted to authorize $10.7 million through a 10-year tax-exempt bond to the Fremont Street Experience. The project has already received $9.5 million in grant money from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA).

The Fremont Street Experience is funding the remaining $12.6 million, with $11.6 million financed by the city’s Reinvestment Development Authority.

Lighting Up Las Vegas

Downtown Las Vegas is amidst an economic boom. While statewide gross gambling revenue grew 2.8 percent in 2017, and Strip resorts saw their fortunes increase only 1.3 percent, downtown casinos surged nearly 12 percent.

A 2016 LVCVA study found that 53 percent of all visitors to Las Vegas now venture downtown at some point during their stay. The report said 59 percent of tourists credited the canopy as the main reason for going downtown.

“The canopy is the spine of downtown visitation,” Hughes stated. The LED overhaul will be completed by June 2019, with work starting from east to west and completed in increments to “minimize experience disruptions.”

The canopy is 1,500-feet long, 90-feet wide, and currently has 12.5 million LED lights and a 550,000-watt sound system. The attraction is the world’s largest video screen, and features free light shows every night of the week.

Who is Fremont Street?

The Fremont Street Experience is a five-block entertainment destination. The company is a private entity controlled by the district’s casino operators. They include Binion’s, California, The D, Four Queens, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, and Main Street Station.

The D Las Vegas owner Derek Stevens is demolishing Las Vegas Club, Glitter Gulch, and Mermaids to make way for a block-long resort on the western end of the Fremont Street Experience.

Stevens hasn’t unveiled many details of the resort’s plans, but the Las Vegas City Council said in a statement this week that the development will cost $1.1 billion.

It’s rumored that the casino resort might be called “Grandissimo,” the moniker of Las Vegas visionary Jar Sarno. Stevens acquired the naming rights many years ago and has long been a fan of Sarno’s.

City Council expects the new resort, which will offer at least 700 hotel rooms, to generate $2.1 million in annual occupancy tax revenue.