092513 CJOS_Zitro_LINQ_300The LINQ, Caesars Entertainment’s $550 million open-air retail, dining and entertainment (RDE) district located on the Las Vegas Strip, is proceeding as planned and will open its first phase in December, according to Jon Gray, a Caesars official who spoke yesterday at Global Gaming Expo, which is taking place this week in Las Vegas.

Gray, who is vice president and general manager of The LINQ and participated in a panel discussion entitled “Hot Attractions and Cool Amenities,” said the project aims to attract a retail mix that includes new market concepts, such as the 78,000-square-foot Brooklyn Bowl concert venue, in addition to successful familiar brands such as Sprinkles Cupcakes and the Titled Kilt bar. The goal of these RDE attractions: to entice younger clientele to visit The LINQ.

“We are really going after the Gen X and Gen Y consumers with The LINQ,” Gray said. “There are studies that show these generations will comprise over 50 percent of Las Vegas visitor volume by 2015. We are spending $550 million on this project; out first big step toward providing specific RDE for Gen X and Y consumers.”

So far, the leasing of The LINQ has exceeded expectation, with retailers willing to pay above pro forma rents to be part of the project, according to Gray. “What we are pushing for is a lot of personality to come alive in the storefronts and signage points,” he said. “We have a lot of great tenants coming in and putting their best foot forward and that means there will be a lot of great energy there.”

The scheduled December opening for The LINQ will be for these RDE components, the remainder of which will come on line by February 28, according to Gray. The High Roller—a 550-foot tall wheel that will act at the primary entertainment attraction for the project—will open sometime in the first half of 2014, once it has passed a rigorous testing procedure. The High Roller will have 28 cabins attached to the wheel, each of which can carry 40 people. It will take 30 minutes for one full revolution, which means upwards of 2,200 people can ride the attraction each hour.

“It is an engineering marvel,” Gray said. “The same group that engineered it also did the Singapore Flyer and the London Eye, which was meant to be a temporary installation but became the second most popular tourist attraction in London. We learned from these projects… the entire rim of the wheel will be lit at night and each cabin will have exterior lighting through a package we can control. This whole thing will be very visual and stunning both day and night. It will become an icon on the Las Vegas Strip.”