- Associated Press - Monday, October 1, 2012

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Casino giant Caesars Entertainment Corp. and the owner-operator of a Los Angeles shopping district are touting the tenants signed on for an open-air master-planned entertainment, restaurant and retail complex being built at the base of a big new Las Vegas Strip observation wheel.

A Brooklyn Bowl entertainment venue, a Yard House beer bar and an Asian-themed food and art marketplace are among anchor businesses for the $550 million project, developers announced Monday.

The pedestrian mall, dubbed LINQ, is named for its location linking three Caesars Entertainment properties _ Harrah’s Las Vegas, the Flamingo and the renamed Quad, formerly the Imperial Palace. It’s across Las Vegas Boulevard from the company’s flagship Caesars Palace resort

Caesars Entertainment chief executive Gary Loveman said the goal is to appeal to a younger generation of customers looking for excitement and live entertainment in addition to gambling.

“Rather than adding additional gaming space or more rooms into an already room-rich market, we’ve designed The LINQ and its distinctive set of tenants to create an entertainment experience unlike any other currently available in Las Vegas,” Loveman said in a statement.

Leasing is being handled by Rick J. Caruso and Caruso Affiliated, the company behind The Grove in Los Angeles.

Caruso said the plan is to provide 24-hour programming aimed at changing the way people think about shopping and entertainment in Las Vegas.

Twelve tenants have claimed a little more than two-thirds of the space in LINQ, said Jon Gray, a Caesars vice president and LINQ project manager. He likes to call the location the 50-yard line of the Las Vegas Strip, and he noted that it is within walking distance of 24,000 hotel rooms.

Gray pointed to company tallies putting the number of pedestrians passing the location in the millions every year, and to plans that call for it to lead like a Main Street or midway to the 550-foot-tall Ferris-style wheel, dubbed the High Roller. It is expected to open in late 2013.

LINQ designers plan walkable space with upscale storefronts, terraces and patios amid the three-story complex.

“Nightclubs, bars, bowling alleys. This includes everything,” Gray told The Associated Press.

The first Western U.S. site of a Brooklyn Bowl concert, nightclub, bar, bowling alley and restaurant venue will take up about 25 percent of the 300,000-square-foot development. Brooklyn Bowl is being designed with a 2,000-seat performance hall able to host crowds watching football on Sundays, DJ or hip-hop karaoke and nightly concerts.

Gray said the Yard House restaurant aims to slake the thirsts of beer fans, while the Asian-themed F.A.M.E. _ for food, art, music and entertainment _ market will offer sushi, dim sum, noodle bowls and robata grill foods to patrons in lounge seating and street art from urban Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Seoul.

Other tenants include Sprinkles, a Los Angeles-based cupcake and ice cream shop; Flower and Barley, a brick oven pizzeria; Koto, an oddities and gifts store with outlets in Miami and Aspen, Colo.; and Off the Strip, a bistro and bar.

The company said as many as 3,000 construction workers could work to build the project. It is expected to employ 1,500 people once it is open.

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