By  on April 17, 2006

NEW YORK — Las Vegas has it all…or does it?

Retailing keeps pouring into Sin City, but General Growth Properties believes there's room for more and has a plan to deliver what it considers a novel retail experience.

The Chicago-based developer, in its first start-up project on the Strip, is creating The Shoppes at the Palazzo, which will have 300,000 square feet of retail and will be part of the $1.6 billion Palazzo Hotel Resort Casino.

The Shoppes at the Palazzo intends to capitalize on the success of The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian, and will be physically linked to it. The Palazzo will also include more than 3,000 hotel suites, 1 million square feet of convention space and 15 restaurants.

"We are trying to achieve an elegant, Beverly Hills, Italian feeling," said Robert Michaels, president and chief operating officer of General Growth, discussing the vision for the project. "It won't be the same thing as the Venetian. It will be a different but complementary component tied together." It will also feature "innovative" retailers in the spirit of the type of shopping found in SoHo, he said.

"We are a year-and-a-half out from opening. There is tremendous interest. We are well along in our leasing. This will open 95 to 100 percent leased."

The Palazzo will be in competition with Taubman Centers Inc., which has said it expects to sign leases with "all the major luxury suspects" for its Project CityCenter, MGM/Mirage's $5 billion vertical city, opening in Las Vegas in 2009. Taubman wants to have 100 names or more on the store roster, including major international brands, as well as street frontage and brand identity similar to what the brands get on the Ginza in Tokyo or New York's Fifth Avenue. That's what Taubman considers its major point of difference with other properties in town.

But the Palazzo has a head start, and it got a big lift with the announcement this month that Barneys New York will anchor the project with a three-level, 85,000-square-foot store that will have an entrance off the Strip and valet parking. It is scheduled to open in fall 2007.

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