The new NHL team heading to Las Vegas is changing more than the city’s sports scene.
As part of the re-design of the area around the new T-Mobile Arena, where the newest pro hockey team will start play in the fall of 2017, Vegas officials have created an entirely new neighbourhood that’s both pedestrian and environmentally friendly. The new development, called The Park, runs from Las Vegas Blvd. to the new arena between the New York, New York casino and the old Monte Carlo, which is being replaced by a NoMad Las Vegas and the new Park MGM hotel.
The NoMad will include a restaurant Chef Daniel Humm, best known for his 3 Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park resto in lower Manhattan. The Park MGM will include a Las Vegas version of the hugely popular (and very tasty) Eataly concept, with tons of Italian food, markets and restaurant offerings.
The Park area is a deliberate throwback kind of place, with pedestrian walkways that are much more friendly to folks on foot than the Strip. The Las Vegas Sun earlier this year reported that more than 200 mature trees were planted so the park would be full and lush on its opening day. They also developed desert-like landscaping and “water walls” that are supposed to make folks think of the natural springs that drew folks to this area in the first place.
Of course, they also will have entertainment, shopping and restaurants, including a beer hall and a “Japanese dining extravaganza” lining the path to the arena. You’ll also find Bliss Dance, a 12-meter-high sculpture of a dancing woman created by artist Marco Cochrane, which is lit up at night with nearly 3,000 coloured LED lights.
The new arena, which will seat up to 20,000 fans, will feature everything from craft cocktails to Ahi tuna bowls, a Shake Shack for burgers and hand-carved bbq pork banh mi sandwiches, a staple of Vietnamese cuisine. There also will be an 18,000 square foot bar/nightlife venue with two platforms overlooking the ice.
I haven’t seen The Park in person yet, but it sounds a bit like a more natural-looking version of The Linq, the low-scale development that leads from the Strip to the Las Vegas Wheel, otherwise known at the High Roller.
For folks who have long decried the harsh Las Vegas environment for pedestrians, both The Linq and The Park are welcome changes. For hockey fans, of course, the draw of a team in Las Vegas is even better.
This item originally appeared in Postmedia and Sun Media websites and newspapers across Canada.