AREA 15: An 'experience' comes to Las Vegas


If you didn't know it was 10 a.m., you would think this was a trendy nightspot downtown.

We were inside a big, dark office/warehouse space next to the interstate, with black walls, trendy bare lightbulbs. There was a bar offering morning juice, bagel, and danish fare. There was also a huge skull overlooking the assembled crowd.

Not just any skull. This one was a piece of art. A physical and electronic creation that changed images, announcing the vision of art and inspiration that will become “Area 15,” to be built across the street.

Winston Fisher, the principal of Fisher Brothers, owns the land Area 15 will go up on. He’s one of the people behind tthe project, which will be built next to I-15, with Desert Inn to the south and Sirius to the north.

“We're not a mall. We're an immersive bazaar,” Fisher says, one that will have art, retail, events, and entertainment.

“That entertainment is everything from "deep house," EDM, food truck conventions, tech showcases, TED talks, whatever it is - the idea is to bring in great cool content,” he tells me.

Construction starts in April. Councilwoman Tarkanian is jazzed about this means for a very industrial and unglamorous neighborhood.

“It brings a new business here, that I think will attract a lot of tourists. This will be, like, one of the first places like it anywhere in the country,” Tarkanian says.

It will be like "Burning Man", in the city, or like our weekly downtown art celebration, "First Friday."

On steroids.

“Heavy steroids", she adds.

The anchor tenant will be the New Mexico based art collective "Meow Wolf,” which has a location in Santa Fe. If you’ve never been there, it’s a place to experience art, not just view it.

“We have the number one attraction in the State of New Mexico,” Meow Wolf CEO Vincent Kadlubek told me.

“What we’re going to do in Las Vegas is something that’s three times the size of what we did in Santa Fe. We’re going to create the most incredible, immersive, interactive art installation experience in the world, basically,” Kadlubek says.

It's fun for all ages, he tells me. But this place definitely will have a hip, artsy vibe.

“You know, that's Vegas. We love things that are new and a little off the page. This is a great one,” says Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman. She says Area 15 will be in the perfect location, thanks to the Project Neon overhaul of I-15.

“Which means you can come on down Martin Luther King, or you can get off the freeway and be dropped right here,” says Goodman.

Area 15 is expected to open mid-to-late summer 2019.

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