Bellagio Hacks Down Trees to Make Way for F1 Grandstand
Preparations for the Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix have been the subject of lots of heated discussion for the past few months. Mostly, the chatter was related to traffic.
The latest? Trees in front of Bellagio are being chopped down to make way for a grandstand.
It was originally believed the trees—some a quarter century old—would be relocated, but nope, off to the wood chipper.
Early on, MGM Resorts officials said the company would “temporarily and safely remove the trees in front of the Bellagio fountains.”
This is what’s known in public relations circles as “horseshit.” Sorry, “damage control.”
Our eagle-eyed friend @JamesinLasVegas and man-about-town passed along some photos of the trees marked, presumably, for “relocation.”
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 4, 2023
At first we thought they might just be pruning the trees to make them easier to “safely remove.”
Now, it’s clear that’s not the plan.
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 5, 2023
Thanks a lot, bean counters. Here’s another look at the aftermath. (See? Because accountants do a lot of math. As some point, you’re going to have to start figuring out our jokes all on your own!)
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 6, 2023
It seems there was a cost/benefit analysis at MGM Resorts, and it was decided the removal and relocation plan wasn’t the best option.
The matter, of course, is more complicated because presumably this race will be taking place for the next 10 years. We trust when new trees are put into place after the grandstand is removed, the roots will be enclosed, making it easier to remove and replace them each year.
It’s a monstrosity.
We’re generally irked by the F1 takeover of Las Vegas, and feel like public officials and the LVCVA didn’t understand the amount of disruption the three-day event would cause.
New rendering shows the Bellagio fountains won’t be completely blocked during F1. Phew, we Tweeted sarcastically. pic.twitter.com/2IvTTf00hX
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) May 26, 2023
The Formula 1 Las Vegas Grand Prix happens Nov. 16-18, 2023.
It’s worth noting the chopping down of trees (some of the only natural shade on the Las Vegas Strip) isn’t the only awkward part of the F1 saga. It’s that the LVCVA, the aforementioned public officials, F1 and resorts dramatically over-estimated demand. At least at certain price points.
The rates of rooms during the races are imploding, along with package prices.
In one case, we shared how Harrah’s reduced the rate for a room during race a whopping 69%, and we are not making that percentage up.
F1 room rates and package prices are imploding. Harrah’s changed this guest’s booking to a dramatically lowered rate (about 70% less), reflecting soft demand. Hotels should get more than they would during this typically slow period, but a fraction of the overly-optimistic… pic.twitter.com/zfpKYhaGOH
— Vital Vegas (@VitalVegas) September 2, 2023
The F1 drama continues.
So-called experts predict F1’s race will generate $1.3 billion for the Las Vegas economy. This eye-popping estimate is the result of a complicated process known as “experts pulling numbers out of their butt.”
We’re generally disinterested in sports, but we do care when our town is negatively impacted by months-long roadwork, tree murder and rich people clogging our airport with their private jets so we have nowhere to park ours.
We’re sure it’ll all be worth it. The Titanic didn’t pan out as planned, but at least it resulted in a popular movie, so every dark cloud has a silver lining.
Update (9/7/23): Following our story, local news reached out to MGM Resorts for comment, because of course they did. We break news, they follow up and request official comments. We’d reach out for comment, but we don’t really care all that much what some public relations flack at MGM Resorts has to say, all due respect. Here’s what they slapped together, “This work is part of preparations for the Las Vegas Grand Prix and our efforts to provide the best possible experience through improved visibility, mobility and pedestrian access and safety.” MGM Resorts also said the removed trees will be recycled into woodchips for local parks. We are not kidding. It’s unclear why anyone cares what casino P.R. people say. What did this statement convey, at all? What did it accomplish? It was apparently too much effort on the part of MGM Resorts to spend five minutes helping people understand why they changed course (or lied), what’s actually happening or why they’re bending over for F1. We’d love to hear if they think all the gymnastics are worth it for a three-day race? Do they hear any of their employees talking about the snarled traffic and how hard it’s been to get to work for months? Do they have any concerns about what’s going to happen when The Strip is locked down prior to, and during, the race? We’d also like to hear about their favorite kind of pizza and favorite breed of dog. We’re just really interested in what MGM Resorts thinks about things. Do they realize how many people are expressing disappointment about their handling of this whole tree thing? Do they have a clue why? Do they sincerely think trees were a danger to pedestrians? We have lots of questions. But rather than asking more questions, since you stopped reading 10 minutes ago, we’re going to use A.I. to create an image of a giant, angry tree unleashing hell upon unsuspecting tourists on the Las Vegas Strip.
Update (9/7/23): All the trees along Las Vegas Blvd. have been turned into wood chips.
Bellagio has put out some adorable little barriers so tourists won’t be traumatized in addition to having heat stroke because there’s no shade.