The Forum Shops at Caesars grows up and out

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LAS VEGAS - A $139 million, 175,000-square-foot expansion of the Forum Shops at Caesars has added about 50 luxury stores and fine restaurants to the venue, which, in turn, has spread beyond its original architectural borders and right up onto the sidewalks of Las Vegas Boulevard.

Before construction, the Forum Shops sat back on the Caesars Palace property, accessible from the Strip by a short walk and a slow journey up a slightly inclined people-mover.

Now, the addition features two new entrances on the Strip that enable would-be shoppers to walk directly in or use new curbside valet service.

The expansion's classic Roman architecture, coupled with a grand pedestrian plaza, has created what the Forum Shops had lacked before - a signature entrance.

Not that the venue's old configuration hurt business: The mall, which opened in 1992 with 283,000 square feet and underwent an expansion in 1997 that increased its size to 500,000 square feet, is considered one of the most successful (in terms of revenue per square foot) in the country.

The Forum Shops' expanded shopping area is contained in a three-level rotunda that extends from the existing mall area.

The rotunda has a glass-domed skylight and a reflecting pool.

To get from one level of the mall to the next, visitors should take a ride on what has become an attraction in its own right - a Mitsubishi electric spiral escalator.

Like the escalator, many of the new tenants in the expanded shopping area are a novelty for Las Vegas shoppers.

Some stores, like Sony Style, are new to the southern Nevada area, while others, such as Nambe (which specializes in home decor, giftware and accessories) and Celine (a French clothing designer not to be confused with Celine Dion, Caesars Palace's resident diva) are a first for the West Coast.

Still other outlets, such as Juicy Couture, are using the Forum Shops expansion to make their debut in the U.S.

Indeed, the list of new stores reads like a "Who's Who" of luxury retailers and includes Tommy Bahama, Kate Spade, Donald Pliner, Baccarat, Brooks Brothers and CH Carolina Herrera.

World-class jeweler Harry Winston opened its doors here, making the 1,000-square-foot Las Vegas salon its first U.S. location to debut in 15 years.

To mark the occasion, the aptly named songstress Jewel, accompanied by 6-month-old Blaise Winston, grandson of the store's late namesake, cut the ceremonial, $150,000 all-diamond ribbon featuring more than 250 fancy color and white brilliant gems bezel-set in 18-karat gold.

Additionally, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, which already had locations at the Forum Shops, have expanded their presence, with the former tripling its size to a new global store.

And Tourneau, the high-end watch retailer, increased its store size from 1,036 square feet to 13,410 square feet.

A handful of restaurants and other specialty food outlets have set up shop among all the new stores.

They include Boa Steakhouse, Il Mulino New York, Ferrara's Cafe, Joe's Seafood Prime Steak & Stone Crab, Segafredo Zanetti Espresso, Sushi Roku and Vosges Haut-Chocolat.

The Forum Shops at Caesars is open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sundays through Thursdays, and from 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call (702) 893-4800 or visit www.simon.com.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to[email protected].
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