The Future of Las Vegas Circa 2020
You can’t buy happiness, but you can go to Las Vegas and that’s kind of the same thing.
Call it what you will, Las Vegas is in a category all its own. There is no other place like it. It’s bold, romantic, sassy, full of promises, braggadocious, glamorous, excessive, heartbreaking – and the list could go on and on. What started in the 19th century as a small settlement where fruits and vegetables were grown and lead was mined has metamorphosed into a dazzling, larger-than-life end of the rainbow where it seems anything and everything is possible.
The evolution of this neon metropolis in the desert is a fascinating story in its own rite. From a few illegal casinos and speakeasies in the teens and ’20s to the mob-run glamour days of the ’40s and ’50s to the rise of the mega-casino in the ’90s, Vegas has a curious habit of not only reinventing itself, but doing it every few decades, and doing it very well.
Into the New Century
As the nation was counting down the last decade until Y2K, Vegas was in the midst of a building boom that would completely transform its most famous street, known simply as the Strip (but officially called Las Vegas Boulevard.) The legendary thoroughfare, supersaturated with neon, was looking more and more like a fairytale and less like any other street in North America.
Now, in one short stretch of asphalt, it was possible to see the New York skyline, an Egyptian pyramid, Tivoli Fountain, a medieval castle, the Eiffel Tower, Venetian canals, and a spectacular fountain show that was to become the most popular tourist attraction in the state. The new Las Vegas was exploding into something bigger than it had ever been, and people came to see what it was all about. Hotel rates hit an all-time high, and gaming revenues skyrocketed to nearly $11 billion in 2007. The future looked as bright as the Strip itself when the sun went down on a Saturday night.
Then came 2008. To say that Vegas was hit hard by the financial crisis would be a colossal understatement. Home prices plummeted, the unemployment rate catapulted into double digits, and the construction cranes all but vanished from the city’s skyline. Vegas became the epicenter, the poster child, for the devastation wrought by the housing bubble burst. One expert called it “ground zero for the great recession.”
The Future of Las Vegas
Because Las Vegas’ economy depended so much on the gambling and entertainment industries, its recovery was much slower than other cities with more diversified economies. Ask any Vegas resident, and they’ll tell you that by 2010-2011 things looked pretty grim. The recession had taken a devastating toll on the city, and many wondered if it could ever dig itself out.
But remember: Las Vegas is a city of dreams with an uncanny ability to reinvent itself, to transmogrify itself, to somehow morph into something new without losing any of its irresistible fantasyland aura.
And it started to happen again. Though the events of 2020 definitely took a toll on the entire world, Las Vegas still saw incredible growth prior – and even managed to pull off a successful year during. With the future of Las Vegas on the horizon, the city still promises an ever-evolving experience that keeps getting better with age.
The Economic Growth of Vegas
Within four or five years, things were already looking up. Construction had resumed on several large projects throughout the city. A large arena and theater were completed. Both IKEA and Amazon set up shop here. A number of drone startup companies opened. And Elon Musk chose Las Vegas as the first test site for his high-speed underground transportation system, known as Vegas Loop, which will whisk passengers to the Strip at speeds of up to 155 mph. It’s due to open in January 2021, and he plans to eventually expand the system to connect large cities throughout the country.
Many experts are optimistic about the future of Las Vegas, and for good reason. The city now has its own professional hockey team – the Vegas Golden Knights – as well as a WNBA team. Additionally, the former Oakland Raiders have relocated to Vegas with the team’s home games at Allegiant Stadium, a brand new, $1.8 billion state-of-the-art facility that’s just a stone’s throw from the Strip.
Credit: Vegas Means Business
Other signs that Las Vegas is bouncing back nicely include an expansion to the city’s convention center, already the largest single-level convention center in the world. The $980 million venture, scheduled for completion by the end of 2020, will add 1.4 million square feet of space to the existing 3.2 million-square-foot facility. Also, several major projects are in the works to expand roads, and just recently, a 10-year initiative to add 22 miles of HOV lanes finally opened up. This is all in an effort to alleviate traffic congestion near the city’s busy Downtown Las Vegas area.
Although the casino and entertainment venues in Vegas are king, the medical and tech industries are also growing by leaps and bounds. This diversification in the city’s economy bodes well for the future of Las Vegas. Job opportunities bring new residents, and that’s good for local businesses as well as the housing market.
The Opening of Circa Las Vegas
Not to be overlooked, of course, was the highly-anticipated opening of Circa Resort and Casino. With 777 rooms and suites, great amenities, and an eclectic array of restaurants and bars, Circa pays homage to Vegas’s past, present, and future. This luxury resort and casino sits on real estate that was formerly occupied by such storied Vegas establishments as the Las Vegas Club, Mermaids Casino, and the legendary Glitter Gulch, a topless venue that took its name from a popular nickname given to neon-drenched Fremont Street many years ago.
As of October 2020, all amenities are open with the hotel opening in less than a week. With the world’s largest sportsbook, a giant pool amphitheater, a state-of-the-art casino, delicious restaurants and bars, a rideshare hub, and so much more, Circa is testament to the growth of Las Vegas and is certainly setting high standards for the future of the city.
Las Vegas holds a magical place in the nation’s collective consciousness. It’s a place where dreams come true and the impossible becomes possible. True, this shining jewel in the desert has undergone seismic changes over the decades, but no one doubts that it will continue to sparkle, glitter, and glow for years to come. To make your own history and witness the growth and future of the city yourself, be sure to book a room at Circa Las Vegas to have the time of your life.