Malaysia developer to break ground on mega resort in Las Vegas

The plan calls for adapting 80-85% of the unfinished Echelon casino structure for the new $4 billion resort and casino. 

March 25, 2015 |
Malaysia developer to break ground on mega resort in Las Vegas

The resort would be built in multiple stages over several years, with the first phase scheduled for completion sometime 2017. Rendering courtesy Steelman Partners

Genting Berhad, a Malaysia-based developer, has received preliminary approval from city officials to start construction on Resorts World Las Vegas, a $4 billion project that will include 3,000 hotel rooms, 3,500 slot machines and game tables within a 175,000-sf casino, 30 food and beverage outlets, and a 4,000-seat theater, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The website CardPlayer.com adds that the new resort will include a bowling alley, waterpark, and panda exhibit. The site reports that Genting’s interest in building this casino-resort could relate to financial difficulties its properties in Asia and Macau have had due to government crackdowns. KLAS-TV reports that the front façade of Resorts World Las Vegas will be designed to resemble a Chinese village.

Resorts World Las Vegas will be built on 87 acres at the north end of The Strip, for which Genting paid $350 million in 2013. That’s where Boyd Gaming’s unfinished Echelon development now sits, and where the Stardust casino operated until it closed in 2006. Genting’s plan is the use between 80% and 85% of the unfinished structure for the new casino-resort. The casino would be built in multiple stages over several years, with the first phase scheduled for completion sometime 2017.

Steelman Partners is the design architect for the project.

 

Vegas on a Roll?

Genting announced its plans at a time when Las Vegas is still trying to rebound from recession and broaden its appeal beyond gambling. Nevada’s Gaming Control Board reports that gaming revenue generated by casinos on the Las Vegas Strip dropped by 2.6% to $6.37 billion in 2014. However, sports wagering rose 11.8%.

The city welcomed a record 41 million visitors in 2014, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. It also hosted nearly 6,000 conventions and business meetings.

 

The incomplete, mothballed Echelon project in Las Vegas. Photo: Bobak Ha'Eri via Wikimedia Commons

 

Cox Communications is investing $10 million to upgrade the two-million-sf Las Vegas Convention Center with an additional 7,500 fiber terminations, and replacing its network equipment.

MGM is adding 350,000 sf to its 1.7-million-sf Mandalay Bay Convention Center, a renovation that should be completed early next year. MGM, which owns and operates about 27% of all the hotels in the city, saw its revenue per room jump by 8% last year.

“With more than $9 billion in recent and planned developments, we are poised to continue that growth and march toward our next goal of 45 million visitors in the coming years,” said Rossi Ralenkotter, president of the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

The city is hoping that the new casino-resort will bring energy and customers to the north end of The Strip, where the old Fountainbleu structure has been empty for several years. The website VegasInc.com notes that this neighborhood is seeing signs of life, with SLS Las Vegas opening in the old Sahara casino-hotel building last August, and MGM building a concert venue that is scheduled to open in May. Australian billionaire James Packer last fall unveiled his plans to build a resort on the site of the former New Frontier.

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