As the north end of the Las Vegas Strip took another hit with the Lucky Dragon announcing the closure of its casino and restaurants, just over a year after opening, experts are still waiting for a project to strike success in the area that has shown dismal performance in the last decade.
David Schwartz, the director of UNLV’s Center for Gaming Research, said it was disheartening to hear about the Lucky Dragon’s cutbacks, because of the jobs lost.
He says the Lucky Dragon’s location is the biggest hurdle, as has been the problem with neighbors at the SLS.
The answer to the problem is simple in theory according to Schwartz, “get more people there.”
That is easier said than done as proven by the long list of projects have faced sluggish progress or outright failure over the last decade.
They include the Alon, Rock in Rio, Resorts World and the monument to stagnation, the Fontainebleau.
Schwartz says the area can return to its former glory.
"It just runs in cycles, and it is a question of getting more investment and development in that area to draw more people, which will lead to more foot traffic," Schwartz said.
There are signs of hope.
A handful of cranes are hard at work at Resorts World and the Riviera is being replaced by an expanded Las Vegas Convention Center.
The Fontainebleau has been purchased with plans to complete the project under its new name, Project Blue
Schwartz says funding to complete that work is hard to keep flowing.
"Why would you want to invest in a place where other people are having trouble. It is kind of paradoxical, but that is what it takes," Schwartz said.
Only time will tell if the momentum will keep building and act as a magnet to draw tourists.