By  on August 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES — The Shops in Desert Passage, a Las Vegas mall that opened in 2000 as a retail annex to the former Aladdin Hotel, has been rebranded as Miracle Mile Shops—a nod to the stretch of Wilshire Boulevard that was once Los Angeles’ premier shopping destination.

Fittingly, this required a facelift.

A $75 million renovation that began last year is slated for completion early next year. Much of the retail complex’s overhaul has focused on scrapping the heavily Arabian-themed interior for a subtle, contemporary motif, said Russ Joyner, Miracle Mile Shops’ general manager.

“With [Desert Passage], retailers had to sign up to an overall vision, instead of maintaining their own identity,” said Joyner, who has managed Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas and Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. “Now we’re allowing the store to be the hero, not the architecture.”

The 170-store mall is adjacent to Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, which officially opened in April after a more than $1 billion transformation of the Aladdin. To bring Miracle Mile Shops in step with Planet Hollywood’s modern interior, Kasbah lamps, Moorish archways and kiosks fashioned to resemble a Middle Eastern bazaar are being replaced with oversized video screens, black slate flooring and glass storefronts. Architecture firm Gensler of Nevada is heading the retail makeover.

Restaurants such as Commander’s Palace—a replica of the New Orleans original—have been replaced with Hawaiian Tropic Zone and Trader Vic’s, which features an outdoor deck facing the Las Vegas Strip. Among the new stores added to Miracle Mile’s retail mix are Ben Sherman, Urban Outfitters, True Religion, Frederick’s of Hollywood and Las Vegas’ first H&M, which is scheduled to open in September.

Joyner asserts the revamp has boded well for the long-ailing Desert Passage, which has been criticized for being inaccessible and uninviting to pedestrian traffic along the Strip. Sales per square foot totaled approximately $800 last month, a 15 percent increase over the year-ago period. Joyner projects Miracle Mile Shops’ sales per square foot to increase to about $1,200 within two years—growth he attributes in part to the nearby Project CityCenter, a 76-acre, mixed-use development slated to open in 2009. The $8 billion project, located across the Strip from Miracle Mile Shops, will feature luxury condos, a 400-room Mandarin Oriental hotel and a 2,000-seat Cirque du Soleil theater.

Miracle Mile Shops is owned by David Edelstein of Tri Star Capital and Aby Rosen of RFR Holding, which purchased Desert Passage in 2003 for $241 million.

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