City makes room for another mall


A streetscape rendering of the Shops at Summerlin.

The Shops at Summerlin

A streetscape rendering of the Shops at Summerlin. Launch slideshow »

I doubt anyone is upset that the Shops at Summerlin will no longer be a hulking, rusting, steel graveyard.

Developer Howard Hughes Corp. resumed construction last year on the massive retail and office complex, which was mothballed in 2008 during the national economic meltdown.

The abandoned property on Sahara Avenue at the 215 Beltway was a constant reminder of Las Vegas’ building bust, and its completion is both removing an eyesore and boosting the valley’s sluggish construction sector.

The mall is slated to open near the end of this year. But after the ceremonial ribbon has been cut, after the congratulations and adulations are doled out, what exactly will shoppers walk into?

So far, it’s shaping up to be just another mall, hardly different from what’s out there in the valley.

Its expected retailers include Macy’s (which has five other local locations), Old Navy (five others), Michael Kors (five others), Trader Joe’s (four others), Dillard’s (three others), Nordstrom Rack (one other) and Sur la Table (one other).

Howard Hughes executives are pitching the 106-acre project as Summerlin’s downtown, a pedestrian-friendly “urban center” with more than 125 shops and restaurants. Renderings show an outdoor mall that you can drive through and is built to look like a neighborhood, similar to Town Square, the District and, if cars were allowed, Tivoli Village.

As it is, the valley is bloated with shopping malls — there’s Fashion Show, Boulevard, Galleria at Sunset, Meadows, Town Square, Tivoli, the District, the two Premium Outlets and others in Strip resorts. This doesn’t even include the endless supply of neighborhood strip centers, which are loaded with big-box stores such as Target, Wal-Mart and Home Depot.

A key selling point for the Shops at Summerlin is convenience. It’s closer to home for Summerlin residents than Fashion Show, about 15 miles away, and newer and shinier than Meadows, 10 miles away.

Poaching shoppers from Meadows is doable, but given the current lineup of retailers at Summerlin, competing with Fashion Show could be tough, especially when it comes to affluent shoppers. But the project should prove a nice complement to the adjacent Red Rock Resort. Shoppers can buy clothes or gifts at the mall, or just walk leisurely around with a coffee in hand without fear of cars flying by at 50 mph, before heading to the resort for a movie, dinner, spa treatment or gambling.

At the very least, unlike other malls in the valley, the Shops at Summerlin will have some great close-up views of the mountains.