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Big changes for north end of Las Vegas Strip | News

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Big changes for north end of Las Vegas Strip

LAS VEGAS -- A lot of changes are happening on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip and more are on the way.

Last year, the SLS Las Vegas Hotel opened its doors at the former Sahara hotel location.

In May, the 60-year-old Riviera plans to close its doors to make way for more convention space for the Las Vegas convention center.

The very next day, on May 5, there is a groundbreaking planned across the street as construction for the Asian-themed Resorts World Las Vegas gets underway.

That following weekend, the Rock in Rio will open with the biggest rock concert of the year on the corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard.

With all of the upcoming changes happening at the north end of the Strip, some are wondering what will happen to the longtime Las Vegas store Bonanza Gifts. 

The main stage for Rock in Rio is just a football field away the gift shop on the MGM Resorts Festival Grounds. The venue will feature a a vendor's village, a zipline tower and of course the main stage. MGM has invested $20 million into the site.

"We're putting the money into it," said Chris Baldizan, the vice president of entertainment for MGM Resorts International. "We understand the impact this site will hopefully have on this end of the Strip and to be honest without all of our neighbors there, none of this would be possible."

While big changes are visible at every other corner at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard, the 35-year-old gift shop denies rumors that they are selling.

"Las Vegas evolves and we're going through another evolving here on the north corner, but we're kind of the one that stays the same. We're the steady," said Angie Hurt, Bonanza Gifts Las Vegas.

MGM's spokespeople say there are no offers from them to buy the corner property.

"Prices are going up, definitely down on the Strip. There's no scent of desperation there. Rates are three or four times what they'd be off of the Las Vegas Strip and that is because of the traffic, the tourism and the demand," said Nelson Tressler, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, a commercial real estate agency.

Yet Bonanza Gifts maintains it isn't going anywhere.

"Right now, Bonanza Gifts is here to stay," Hurt said. "Until that day comes, which I don't think it will, we're here to stay, we're here for the long run."

Walgreens store will open in April.

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