Within the next few months, Las Vegas visitors should see another set of facades go up at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue. This time, though, it's not a new development or a casino rebranding.
No, this time, the $2 million project is an escalator.
The corner already has one south-facing escalator at the end of the bridge that extends from Harmon Corner across the street to The Cosmopolitan. Miracle Mile Shops now is building a north-facing one that will drop pedestrians off just outside the mall's south entrance, next to PBR Rock Bar & Grill's patio.
"I think it just, overall, balances the flow of traffic," said Russell Joyner, Miracle Mile Shops president and general manager. "We think that escalator is a piece that enables the pedestrian, to make it simpler to navigate than what currently exists."
The only sign of construction now is a white barricade next to PBR where the Southern Nevada Water Authority is doing prep work, but look for activity to amp up in the coming months. The project, which officially began last week, is expected to be finished by February.
Now, when pedestrians step off the south-facing escalator, they have to make a U-turn to walk toward Miracle Mile.
"It's confusing, to say the least. We think that this little piece will correct that which is a need right now," Joyner said.
As the corner of Harmon Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard is a high-traffic area, 8-foot facades will be placed around the construction and wrapped with advertising, to let people know what's coming, where to walk and what's around the corner, in terms of open businesses.
Just at the end of the south-facing escalator sits Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which opened in mid-June. Area developer Dina Mitchell said the construction could hurt the shop, depending on how long construction takes, because it can't provide outdoor seating until construction in the area is finished.
"It could temporarily hurt us, but anything that could help traffic flow in both directions will help everyone," Mitchell said. "In the long run, it could definitely help us, assuming the construction's done right the first time."
Miracle Mile's president and general manager didn't have numbers on how many people the additional escalator could bring into the center, which experienced a slight decline in traffic and sales during the second and third quarter.
"It's not anything dramatic, but a couple of percentage points is what we're looking at," Joyner said of the decline.
Later this month, Chicago-based Garrett's Popcorn is opening inside the mall, and Krave is moving out late this year when it opens its larger, downtown location in Neonopolis. Joyner plans to fill Krave's space with a restaurant, something that's relevant for both day and night, he said.
The escalator project will be funded entirely, and continually maintained by Miracle Mile Shops, which is owned by David Edelstein and Aby Rosen, in conjunction with leasing and marketing consultant Robert K. Futterman & Associates LLC.
Contact reporter Laura Carroll at email@example.com or 702-380-4588.