STRAT’s ‘Defensive Spending’ Will Help Rejuvenate North Las Vegas Strip: Analysts

Posted on: July 21, 2019, 03:51h. 

Last updated on: July 22, 2019, 01:41h.

The renovation of the casino formerly known as The Stratosphere will coincide with a “shift of energy” back towards the north side of the Strip, Macquarie hospitality analyst Chad Beynon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week.

The Stratosphere’s transformation into The STRAT coincides with a number of projects that should attract new footfall to the north side of the Strip, which has been neglected since the abandonment of developments there during the recession. (Image: Las Vegas Weekly)

New owners Golden Entertainment have rebranded the Stratosphere to “The STRAT Hotel, Casino and Skypod” as part of an ongoing $140 million revamp that hopes to zhuzh up a property that has suffered from two decades of underinvestment, and from being situated in the “wrong” part of the Strip.

But analysts said the renovations will help to invigorate not just the STRAT but the whole north side of the Strip, and vice versa. That’s because the overhaul is scheduled for completion in 2021 — a time when several projects will either be up and running, or close to completion, in an area where development has been largely stagnant since before the recession.

The King in the North

Genting’s $4 billion, 3,400-room Resorts World Las Vegas is scheduled open next year and is expected to attract more international visitors to the north Strip, reflecting the global footprint of the Genting brand.

Meanwhile, 2022 will see the completion of the Drew Las Vegas — a casino resort that’s currently being remodelled from the shiny blue wreck of the Fontainebleau, which was abandoned ten years ago at the height of the global financial crisis.

The Drew promises retail, nightlife and more than 550,000 square feet of exhibition and meeting space, bringing much-needed conventioneers to the north Strip.

And the SLS is splurging $150 million on renovations that involve changing its name back to the Sahara and getting rid of the weird blob man in the forecourt, which should help.

Brent Pirosch, director of gaming consulting for CBRE’s Global Gaming Group, described the STRAT renovations as “defensive spending” – a necessary component of staying competitive in the face of emerging competition.

But Brad Goldberg, senior vice president of marketing and entertainment for Golden Entertainment, told LVRJ that “a rising tide lifts all ships,” when referring to competing developments in the area. He sees a bright future for a district that has suffered from a lack of footfall for years.

Beyond the Stratosphere

The STRAT has always done a brisk trade as a no-frills hotel for vacationers on the cheap, and its picture-postcard observation tower has never struggled to attract visitors – more than a million visited the casino last year – but the challenge is getting them to stick around.

Hotel guests tend to use the STRAT as budget base for hitting the Strip, while visitors to the observation tower see it as part of a whistle-stop tour of Las Vegas, but they don’t tend to hang around to eat or gamble.

That’s something Golden Entertainment is determined to change, with an emphasis on food and entertainment, while keeping room prices low.

Analysts point out that the north Strip’s new developments — The STRAT, Resorts World, SLS and The Drew — are all differentiating on demographic, price point, and themes, and that can only bode well for attracting footfall to the most neglected part of the Las Vegas Strip.