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Shopping in a Faux European World

April 29, 1998|JEANNINE STEIN

Here's some of what Las Vegas-bound shopaholics can expect in the next few years:

* The Venetian, set to open in spring of 1999 on the site of the former Sands Hotel, will boast 800,000 square feet of retail space when Phases 1 and 2 are completed. The Grand Canal Shoppes will feature a replica of Venice's Grand Canal, complete with working gondolas, arched bridges and a replica of the city's Piazza San Marco, all circa the 15th century. No store names have been released, but a spokesman promised European-based retailers among a mix of upscale and mid-range shops and restaurants.

* Paris Las Vegas, part of the Hilton chain due to debut in the fall of 1999, will be easily identifiable, with its somewhat smaller versions of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe right smack in front of the hotel. Retail-wise, shops will have a French connection. A perfumerie and vintage-looking boulangerie are planned, as are American branches of the French gourmet food store Fauchon and chocolate and pastry palace Le Notre. The arcade will resemble a Parisian street scene, complete with cobblestone walkways.

* The Bellagio is the latest in hotelier Steve Wynn's collection, which also includes Treasure Island, the Mirage and the Golden Nugget. Bellagio will concentrate on high-end retailing in its 35,000-square-foot shopping promenade: Armani, Chanel, Gucci, Prada, Hermes, Tiffany and Fred Leighton have already signed on. In addition there will be another 53,000 square feet of retail space, featuring designer clothes and accessories. Other draws of this Italian-Mediterranean-themed hotel are a display of Wynn's private art collection, a 9-acre lake and extensive waterworks displays.

* Not to be outdone, Caesars will expand its Forum Shops in Phases 3 and 4 of the development, due to be completed in 2000. Plans are to add more restaurants and high-end stores, as well as to make it more architecturally interesting and to add "special effects," according to a representative.

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