What could have been: Vegas casinos that never opened

The "City by the Bay" Proposal

The "City by the Bay" Proposal

Going over a list of Vegas casinos, you see there’s a little bit of everything in this town. What can be even more interesting, however, is going over a list of proposed, but unfinished or un-built Vegas casinos. These are just some of the more interesting concepts that have sprung up over the years:

Titanic – This 400-foot long resort modeled after the ill-fated ship would have also had a (slightly morbid) iceberg-themed shopping center nearby. However, the city refused to approve the zoning request because of its presumed impact on the nearby residential neighborhood.

Xanadu – Named after the legendary capital of Kublai Khan, Martin Stern’s resort vision would have featured a stepped pyramid and open atrium, likely resembling Stern’s Showboat casino in Atlantic City. It was to be built where the Excalibur now stands. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas has an interesting look at the resort here.

Moon – This very creative proposed $5 billion resort concept would have featured 10,000 rooms, a lunar-themed aquatic center, a shopping complex, a “terrestrial biosphere,” moon buggy rides and an “International Space Station” attraction. It never took off.

Planet Hollywood – You must be saying “There’s already a Planet Hollywood!” However, there had been plans to open a Planet Hollywood-themed casino more akin to the themed restaurant chain in the ’90s, but it never materialized.

London – A London-themed casino was once proposed for the old El Rancho site in the early 2000s. The proposal would have included a replica of the London skyline (complete with Big Ben) and a massive Ferris Wheel. Not included in their plans: Chunnel to Paris Las Vegas

City by the Bay – Continuing the trend of replicating other cities in Las Vegas, this resort would have replaced the New Frontier and been styled after San Francisco. Part of this land is now taken up by the Trump Tower and the rest, tentatively, is scheduled to be the site of the The Plaza Las Vegas project.

Dynasty Forbidden City – This Asian-themed proposal by Turnberry would have featured a 1,522-car U-shaped parking structure, resembling the Great Wall of China and an indoor water feature/ pool and spa. The resort was to have a Chinese restaurant and a buffet. It would have been located on The Strip, south of Mandalay Bay.

It’s fun to think of what may have been, especially when it comes to multimillion dollar resorts. If you were a developer with unlimited funds and access to land, what themed resort would you build?

Renderings of many of these are available at Vegas Today and Tomorrow.


There are 6 comments for this article
  1. Fred Ramirez at 10:46 am

    Uh oh!! Somebody didn’t do their research. There actually is a Planet Hollywood casino and resort in Las Vegas. So much for this article being up to date and informative.

  2. Cyndi Jones at 10:59 am

    The London themed would be cool. How about an “alien spaceship” theme? There are a ton of sci-fi fans out there. I’m sure it would do well.

  3. Jorge Labrador at 11:36 am

    Hi Fred, thanks for the comment — but if you notice in the Planet Hollywood section, there’s a reference to the PH that’s already open. The rest of the blurb refers to an earlier Planet Hollywood concept from the 90s, rather than the current one where the Aladdin used to be.