Joe Downtown: Linq official suggests shuttle could move tourists downtown

The Linq shopping and food area between the Quad and Flamingo, pictured here Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, is beginning to see more foot traffic.

Situated in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, the Linq, a $550 million Caesars Entertainment project that partially opened in December, might as well be on the other side of the moon when compared to downtown Las Vegas.

But according to its executives, Caesars sees the Linq as something so unique that it is considering the possibility of shuttling customers between it and downtown as part of the overall unique experience the development wants to bring its Strip customers.

At Tuesday’s monthly meeting of the Building and Owners Management Association Nevada, keynote speaker Jon Gray, Linq vice president and general manager, talked about exploring with Downtown Project the possibility of shuttling people between The Linq and downtown Las Vegas.

Christina Karas, Linq public relations manager, said the idea stemmed from the process of “people looking at different things and different ways to partner.”

Asked about how unusual it would be for a Strip project to even explore the possibility of connecting to downtown Las Vegas, Karas said “(The Linq) is about a new amenity and a new experience within Las Vegas.”

Downtown Project has some connection to the Strip, in that Michael Downs, the project’s executive vice president of operations is the former vice president of operations at the Bellagio.

As more Downtown Project-backed businesses open downtown, it could make economic sense to seek tourism dollars since few developers appear to be stepping up to create more residential housing – and thus more consumers – to the downtown area. Those tourism dollars could mean more customers downtown.

On the flipside, downtown purists might find fault with any attempt to bring tourists downtown given that beyond the Fremont Street Experience, the redeveloping portions of the Fremont East Entertainment District are largely viewed as a “locals” scene.

Downtown Project’s Zach Ware said there were “no plans at this time” for a Linq-to-downtown shuttle.

In any case, a portion The Linq opened Dec. 27 with tenants that included The Haute Doggery, KOTO gift shop, O’Sheas casino and The Purple Zebra daiquiri bar. More tenants will open in late February or early March, Karas said. Stores to open include a “sneaker boutique” called 12 AM:Run and the Polaroid FotoBar, which allows customers to print photos in a variety of sizes and ways.

Within its 80,000 square feet, Brooklyn Bowl at the Linq houses a 32-lane bowling alley and 2,000-seat live-music venue. It’s opening act in mid-March will feature Elvis Costello & The Roots.

The Linq also has an outdoor venue. The Sun reported last week the venue would feature Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts for the Academy of Country Music’s Party for a Cause festival April 4-5.