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Forgotten Dreams: Three Vegas megaprojects that remain unfinished

The recession of 2007-09 froze construction on around 20 partially built Las Vegas Strip structures, leaving them as hard-to-miss monuments to hard times. So it's a testament to the city's resurgence and resilience that only a handful of these expensive eyesores remain (the rest have been completed or demolished or are in the process of demolition).

Sprouting from the site of the old El Rancho and Algiers hotels, the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau Las Vegas is set to become Sin City's last lost resort (until the next economic downturn, at least). But it's a whopper: The 68-story 3,889-room hotel- condo-casino development is the tallest habitable building in Nevada. Construction began in 2007, but Fontainebleau Las Vegas LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009, and the following year a new owner auctioned off the three-quarters-complete building's furnishings. Although its lights are technically still on (power is maintained for fire suppression and elevators), Fontainebleau's future is murky.

Echelon Place
It was envisioned as a multi-hotel, casino, shopping and convention complex covering 87 acres (including the footprint of the imploded Stardust Resort and Casino), but construction of Echelon Place was suspended in 2008. Its lengthy spell in ghostly limbo, during which Echelon was "enjoyed" only by security patrols, officially ended in May when dancers and dignitaries graced the groundbreaking for a $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas project, which will replace it. This Malaysian-owned, Chinese-themed mega-resort isn't due to open until mid-2018, so echoes of the overly ambitious Echelon — and the financial crisis that claimed it — will linger for a good while yet.

When work started on SkyVue Las Vegas Super Wheel in 2011,¿it was intended as a giant 40-gondola observation wheel similar to the High Roller, which has since opened at the Strip's Linq Hotel & Casino. It was variously announced as being scheduled to debut by New Year's Eve 2012, on the following July 4, and then just in time to welcome 2014. Yet SkyVue remains just a sad view: two huge concrete columns looming over the south end of the Strip. Construction ceased in 2013 (scaffolding was removed last year for safety reasons) and, with High Roller now well established, further investment appears unlikely.


-By Paul Rogers, Tribune Content Solutions