Average Age Of Vegas Visitor Dropping Fast. Here’s How Fast.

Jim Murren, CEO MGM Resorts
Jim Murren

No, you’re not that old. The people around you in Vegas are younger.

In the last five years the average age of a tourist in Las Vegas has declined from 51 years to 46, and it’s still falling. Vegas isn’t what it was 20 years ago and it’s not even what it was 2 years ago.

Out with gambling. In with “things to do“!

Understanding that, you can see why we are spending more of our effort and money on nongaming, on theaters, showrooms, hotel remodels, upgrades and public environments like these open spaces. That’s what consumers are asking for. It’s why we are doing festivals.

This weekend’s Foodie Festival was incredible. Rock in Rio coming to Circus Circus … iHeartRadio is another. These environments are so popular. We’re gaining so much market share hosting these types of events. We know that we can take this model even farther.

If you’ve been following previous incarnations of this blog you’re aware of many of the changes to the Vegas Strip and Downtown Vegas. Many of the changes are great but most don’t include gambling (yet). That’s not the Vegas I’ve come to love but it’s what we have. That’s what new customers want. That’s what new customers get.

Onward and upward, I say! There’s still plenty of awesome in Vegas and I find something new every day.

Changes will continue and MGM Resorts will play a large roll in diversifying the Vegas Strip as much as Downtown Project is diversifying when you find in Downtown Vegas.

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

A Trip To The Downtown Container Park

Praying Mantis At Downtown Container Park
Praying Mantis At Downtown Container Park

It’s rare that I agree with my first impression days after the fact but this is how I see the Downtown Container Park. Downtown Container Park just opened in Downtown Vegas on Fremont Street a block past El Cortez.

Downtown Container Park is essential an outdoor mall where the stores are all in storage containers. The mall surrounds a giant treehouse park area. The property has free wifi and a nice little grassy area with a stage for musicians to perform.

I don’t love Downtown Container Park and I don’t hate it. It’s a mall. It’s not a traditional mall but it has all the contents that you’d find in a traditional mall. It’s a place for people to shop and eat or for parents to bring their kids to play during the day. At night the restaurants will cater to the anyone who would like to eat and drink outside.

Let’s take a little tour and discuss specific parts of the Downtown Container Park.

3 Levels

The containers are stacked 2 and 3 levels high. The containers aren’t very big which could make this a tight squeeze if it gets busy. The height makes for some pretty cool views if nothing else. Thankfully all of the food and drink are located on the ground level.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Metal Chairs and Metal Tables

As Scott from Vital Vegas likes to say “What could go wrong?”

The combination of metal tables, metal chairs and limited shade in the park seem like a horrible mix for summer in Las Vegas. Since the only seating for Downtown Container Park is outside this could pose a major problem.

Maybe this is why they rushed to open an outdoor park/mall in time for winter.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Treehouse

The treehouse slide and park is set in the center of all the containers at Downtown Container Park. This area looks like a really cool place for kids to play. It also offers some of the only shade in the Downtown Container Park. Kids 1 – Adults 0.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Dat Slide

Another view of the treehouse slide at Downtown Container Park. Weeeeeeeeee!

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Water Fountain

I can’t remember the last time I saw a water fountain that wasn’t from the 1920’s. This is a nice addition to the park area although the metal may become a health hazard in the summer.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Stage

The stage area at Downtown Container Park looks pretty cool. It should fit legit bands at night and kids stuff during the day. This could be a great outlet for Downtown Project to preview bands for at no charge as a way to promote Life Is Beautiful Fest 2014.

Note that the grass is real. That’s a big deal for the Vegas locals.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Big Ern’s

Big Erns BBQ was one of the few outlets to open before the Downtown Container Park was officially open. Early word is that the BBQ is legit. They also serve New Belgium beer. This sounds like a perfect combination. I hope to try this out before the winter comes to town. (UPDATE: I went here yesterday and wasn’t impressed. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good.)

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Gang Signs

The Llama is the unofficial mascot of Downtown Project. If I was cynical I’d say that this was placed near the front of the Downtown Container Park to keep non-DTP people out. But that’s if I was a cynic and believed that DTP was really a cult. I mean, seriously.

Downtown Container Park Las Vegas

Conclusion

Downtown Container Park is a nifty little space that essentially takes up one city block. I think that Downtown Container Park could be a cool place to grab lunch and work a little (since they don’t open until 11am), bring the family for play time and shopping or to grab a few drinks at night while watching a band on the big stage. It’s another thing to check out when you’re visiting Downtown Vegas.

Downtown Project has been doing a lot of development for a local community that they’re helping cultivate. It’s going to take some time to see if this works out as they intend. I’m not sure that I entirely understand the vision but that’s fine. I’ll enjoy the new life they’re breathing into Downtown Vegas.

Will other people? Time will tell.

Cover Photo: Vegas.com

So Long Gold Spike, Sexy Blackjack

Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike Las Vegas
$5 Sexy Blackjack At Gold Spike

Gold Spike was closed a couple of weeks ago during my pre-summer-n0t-really-vacation and is now owned by Downtown Project. Gold Spike will re-open in a couple of weeks as a bar/restaurant and without a casino or Sexy Blackjack.

 Michael Downs, Downtown Project executive vice president of operations. said the property at 217 Las Vegas Blvd. North is in good shape. The Siegel Group of Nevada Inc. sold the property to Downtown Project investors recently for an undisclosed amount. When Siegel purchased the property five years ago, it did extensive renovations to the casino and hotel rooms.

Sexy Blackjack was stopped back in February and I could tell that this was just the beginning. See, the first place I worked out of college ran into financial problems and was looking for ways to trim the fat. Their first idea was to remove the water cooler. The water cooler was less than a $100 a month expense and let everyone on staff know that things were seriously bad. It didn’t have to be a water cooler that signified change but there was always a signal.

Sexy blackjack wasn’t an expense like the water cooler but its removal was a metaphor for change. Sexy Blackjack wasn’t sexy but it was fun to talk about. Gold Spike was always a part of my Downtown Vegas tour specifically because of Sexy Blackjack. “Hey, I just played $5 Sexy Blackjack” was something my friends and I would say pretty often. There’s plenty of $5 blackjack available downtown but there was no other “Sexy Blackjack”.

The Gold Spike will re-open as part of Downtown Project’s renovation/gentrification/takeover/expansion in Downtown Vegas. This isn’t entirely a bad thing. Reinventing the area around Fremont Street is great even though a little diversity in ownership would be nice. Monopolies are never good for the consumer. That’s for the government to deal with.

Sexy Blackjack and the Gold Spike leaving our lives means different things to different people. Gamblers won’t really be affected since there is plenty of $5 blackjack downtown, tourists will lose a few hundred cheap hotel rooms but room prices may increase with less competition, locals will have to deal with the Downtown Project expansion.

Me, as a local gambler? I’ll miss Sexy Blackjack because it was fun to say but that’s about it. If I want to look at girls while I gamble downtown I can go to Binions, the D, Golden Gate Casino or The Plaza but it won’t be the same as spending a lazy Saturday afternoon playing Sexy Blackjack.