LAS VEGAS, NV – Area 15, a new 126,000-square-foot science-fiction themed retail and entertainment complex slated to offer an “immersive” environment for attendees, officially broke ground on construction on last week with a scheduled opening date of spring of 2019, according to reports.
The complex, located on a 40 acre lot in the vicinity of the Las Vegas Strip on the corner of Sirius Avenue and Rancho Drive, is a joint venture between real estate development firm Fisher Brothers and creative agency Beneville Studios, both based out of New York. Area 15 – the name obviously being a playful take on the infamous Area 51, a secret U.S. Air Force base located in the Nevada desert – is expected to attract a variety of visitors by means of a unique mix of conventions and expos focusing on sci-fi, fantasy, and comic books; in addition, music performances, corporate events, large-scale art exhibits, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants are expected to round out the package. Retail will also have a footprint at the new facility, although details on that aspect has yet to be made public by Fisher and Beneville, aside from announcing it as being a “radical re-imagining” of the concept of both retail and entertainment.
A major anchor tenant in the form of Meow Wolf – a multimedia production company that specializes in creating interactive experiences combining real-world sets and architecture with virtual reality and specialized sound – announced their signing and involvement in the Area 15 project, and it’s likely going to be the first of many, given the facility’s 68,000 square feet of leasable ground floor space, 58,000 square feet of mezzanines and a 40,000-square-foot indoor-outdoor event area that can accommodate up to 3,000 attendees for a variety of event types, including music performances and festivals, corporate shin-digs, and international video game tournaments, among more. Plans are to host over 100 events a year, with parking in the form of over 800 complimentary spots available for attendees.
The Area 15 project is slated to be an “evolution” of the concept of the American shopping mall; with the average attendance at malls down by shoppers in favor of buying items online, Michael Beneville of Beneville Studios noted that in order to keep the concept alive, it needs to evolve with the times and offer cutting-edge experiences that online options can’t compete with.
“The mall of America isn’t dead,” he said. “It just needs to be reinvented. People don’t want to be spoon-fed their entertainment. They want to interact with it.”
Details on Area 15 beyond those in this article are still scarce, however, with promotional material claiming that the complex will offer an “immersive and unique experience” that would “appeal to a variety of clientele, including gamers, comic-con and sci-fi enthusiasts, artists, music and festival lovers.” But with a large amount of construction already slated to and currently taking take place in Las Vegas – with hotels, casinos, convention centers, and more slated to open soon – it remains to be see how and if Area 15’s somewhat mysterious concept will compete.