Pacha scopes out Vegas, Miami (our vote is for Vegas)
Thu, Nov 6, 2008 (midnight)
On the streets of Vegas we may see pigs flying and temperatures in hell approaching freezing but Pacha New York's operating partner Eddie Dean sees opportunity. Dean has been making periodic visits to Vegas for three years now, scouting out possible locations for the well-known, global nightlife brand's 26th location. "Proceeding cautiously," as Dean says, he aims to succeed where overambitious, under-cautious operators have failed. "I don't want to make the same mistakes I've seen them make," says Dean. His due-diligence strategy includes meeting with locals, lawyers, and industry folk to get a real sense of how business is done in Vegas.
But that business has seen better days. "I think some guys have just fallen in love with the idea of opening a place in Vegas." They come out for holiday weekends and go home ready to buy-in. "Holiday weekends can be a real curveball for people." Dean's fact-finding missions have yielded other important success factors: learn who the "big boys" are and get a casino partner. Though Dean has talked to gaming and non-gaming entities, both on and off-Strip, "I do believe that it's no secret… the operations that are dominating are in tremendous casinos and get tremendous support from these casinos. I've concluded that it is necessary to have a casino partner, no question about it." Dean has also passed on several opportunities already. "I just don't wanna go out there for the sake of going out there."
"There's a lot of operations that have gotten away with murder in Vegas because it was a boomtown! You're gonna see the strong survive here and the ones that have been faking it and getting away with it will fall by the wayside." To avoid such a fall, Dean's business will include multiple revenue streams. He has witnessed the successes of nightlife companies which incorporate a restaurant and outdoor components and stresses the need for expandability and contractibility to accommodate fluctuations in business.
The global economical slowdown, "hasn't slowed MY plan down…to learn as much as I can and be patient and wait for the right situation. The need for a global brand like a Pacha is in need more than ever." Dean reports that the level of interest from Vegas land owners for a Pacha Vegas has actually increased since the economic contraction. "Right now being on the outside and being able to evaluate carefully, I think it puts us in the position to find the right situation."
Out on the town recently with Pacha Ibiza owner, Hugo Urgell, Dean and Urgell's car driver commented that in his 36 years in Vegas, this is the slowest he's ever seen his town. A second driver expressed wonderment of her ability to weave through the remarkably scant Saturday night traffic. Urgell and Dean are simultaneously investigating Vegas and Miami for that next big project. Traffic or no, we say bet on Vegas.