Resorts World Las Vegas
|Resorts World Las Vegas|
|Location||Winchester, Nevada, U.S.|
|Address||3000 South Las Vegas Boulevard|
|Opening date||Late 2020|
|No. of rooms||3,400|
|Total gaming space||110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2)|
Resorts World Las Vegas is a casino and 59-story hotel resort currently under construction on the Las Vegas Strip in Winchester, Nevada, United States, planned to open in late 2020. The property had been the site of the Stardust Resort and Casino until 2007, when Boyd Gaming demolished the resort to develop its Echelon Place project. Boyd halted construction in 2008 due to economic conditions, and sold the property to Genting Group in March 2013, when Genting announced plans to redevelop the site as Resorts World Las Vegas. Groundbreaking was initially scheduled for 2014, with the first phase expected to open in 2016. However, the opening date was delayed several times due to redesigns of the project. Groundbreaking took place in May 2015, and construction began in late 2017.
In 2007, Boyd Gaming demolished its Stardust Resort and Casino on the northern Las Vegas Strip to develop Echelon Place, but construction was halted during the economic downturn of 2008. In 2012, Boyd Gaming began negotiations to sell the 87-acre (35 ha) site to the Malaysia-based Genting Group. After months of negotiating, the site was sold to Genting for $350 million on March 4, 2013. On the same day, as part of its Resorts World brand, Genting Group announced plans to build the Chinese-themed Resorts World Las Vegas on the site, while using some of the unfinished Echelon buildings for the new project. The first phase of the project would total 8,000,000 sq ft (740,000 m2), including a 175,000 sq ft (16,300 m2) casino spread across several floors, and a hotel with at least 3,500 rooms. Groundbreaking was scheduled for 2014, with the first phase scheduled to open in 2016. Genting expected to spend between $2 billion and $7 billion to complete the entire project. Notable planned features included a panda exhibit, a 7.5-acre (3.0 ha) indoor water park, and a replica of the Great Wall of China, as well as 250,000 sq ft (23,000 m2) of retail space and more than 500,000 sq ft (46,000 m2) of convention space.
Resorts World Las Vegas was designed by Paul Steelman's architectural firm, Steelman Partners. Conceptual drawings depicted seven hotel towers that would surround the complex. It would be the largest Asian-themed resort on the Las Vegas Strip, and its target clientele would be middle-income residents of Asia. The project was expected to revitalize the northern portion of the Las Vegas Strip, although some analysts were concerned that the local hotel market had already been saturated, with more than 150,000 rooms. Genting Group paid $4 million per acre for the site, down from previous years when land on the Strip sometimes sold for a minimum of $17 million per acre. Genting chose the site because of its size and location, and the fact that it included some partially built structures from the Echelon project, which would lessen the resort's construction period. Echelon's foundations and partially built hotel towers, as well as an unfinished Echelon parking garage on the property's southwest corner, would be incorporated into the new project. Paul Steelman stated that 90 percent of the foundations for the Echelon project had already been completed by Boyd Gaming.
In June 2013, a marketing and beautification plan for Resorts World and its partially developed site was approved by Clark County, Nevada, years ahead of the project's opening. Genting's plan, expected to cost more than $2 million, would include the addition of temporary construction fences around the site that would depict art, as well as renderings of the project. Also planned was the addition of a sound system that would play music and give announcements for promotions. Two Chinese-themed preview centers would also be built for various uses, including office space, conference rooms, and retail. The centers would remain part of the resort upon its completion. Genting was known to proceed slowly and quietly on some of its projects, as it did with Resorts World Las Vegas. Much of the final design work and planning was done privately. Early plans stated that the entire project would contain 21,847,314-square-foot (2,029,681.9 m2) upon completion, including four hotel towers and a total of 6,648 rooms. The towers would be between 44 and 57 stories, with a maximum height of 679 feet.
In December 2013, it was announced that the first phase was expected to cost $4 billion. In May 2014, Genting received preliminary approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate the resort's casino. At that time, the project was expected to employ 10,000 people, and its target clientele would be visitors from Asia who had never been to Las Vegas.
The project would be developed over several years, through two or three phases. As of May 2014, the first phase would include 3,000 hotel rooms in a 674-foot tower, a casino with a total of 3,500 slot machines and table games, and 30 food and beverage outlets. Other attractions would include a large garden marking the property's entrance, and a 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) aquarium measuring 58 feet in height and containing various exotic fish. A shopping center resembling a Chinese village would be located along the property facing the Las Vegas Strip. Construction was expected to begin later in 2014, with completion of the first phase expected to take 24 to 36 months. The project was expected to incorporate 80 to 85 percent of the old Echelon buildings. Through future phases, Genting had plans to eventually add three additional hotels to the project, and possibly a theme park. Plans for a panda exhibit were still in consideration, but the company mentioned the difficulties in obtaining a panda permit from the Chinese government.
Redesigns and delays
Genting delayed the resort's 2014 groundbreaking date to continue finalizing design plans for the project, with the first phase now expected to open in late 2017. Christian Goode, a Genting executive who was to oversee the development and operations of Resorts World Las Vegas, departed the project in January 2015. Goode was replaced by Genting executive Gerald Gardner, a former chief of staff for Nevada governor Brian Sandoval. By that time, a $2 million utility relocation had been completed on the property as part of preliminary site work.
The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 5, 2015, with a new expected opening date of mid-2018. The ceremony included lion dancers, and was attended by approximately 250 people, including governor Sandoval, lieutenant governor Mark Hutchison, U.S. Representative Cresent Hardy, Clark County Commissioners Steve Sisolak and Chris Giunchigliani, and Steve and Elaine Wynn. At the time, Paul Steelman said, "It's a Chinese-themed resort, but it's not a themed resort in the sense that we're sitting around trying to copy Tiananmen Square and make it a dusty old replica. It's not a fully-themed, over-the-top kind of thing where we're trying to copy every single thing in China." It was also announced that the resort would be known in Chinese as "Genting's World of China". The first phase would consist of the main hotel tower. The resort's panda habitat and water park were moved to the second phase of construction, and a 4,000-seat theater had also been moved to a future phase. There was the potential to expand the project to include more than 6,000 hotel rooms.
Following the groundbreaking, the project had approximately 100 construction workers engaged in site preparation. During the local summer of 2015, construction took place in mornings and at night, so workers could avoid the summer heat. In October 2015, construction workers topped off half of the parking structure originally meant for Echelon. Up to that time, Genting had spent more than $50 million on construction and other work, including property maintenance. Little construction had occurred up to that time, as Genting was awaiting various permits, including those needed for energy, sewer and water systems. In the meantime, the company continued to develop its plans for the rest of the project. Genting spokesman Michael Levoff stated that Resorts World Las Vegas was "one of the most cutting-edge and ambitious projects to be undertaken in the Las Vegas Strip in the last decade. A $4 billion project will not be built overnight; it requires a rigorous planning and approval process." The project would be partially financed with nearly $1 billion contributed by foreign investors through the EB-5 program.
In January 2016, the Clark County Zoning Commission approved the project, which would have a Forbidden City design and was expected to eventually include more than 7,000 rooms in four high-rise hotels. The initial phase would include 3,307 rooms and more than 657,000 sq ft (61,000 m2) of public space, including convention facilities and a movie theater. The first phase would also include a 29,350 sq ft (2,727 m2) lake, part of a Chinese garden, which would be overlooked by a row of restaurants. The project's arena would remain part of a future phase. Work on the parking garage continued as of February 2016, but construction was otherwise non-existent. In May 2016, various executives and corporate entities affiliated with the project were given approval by the Nevada Gaming Control Board and the Nevada Gaming Commission to operate the casino.
It was announced that activity on the site would begin in the next few months, with full construction beginning during the fourth quarter of 2016. The project was expected to employ 5,000 construction workers, and 2,500 or 3,000 employees upon opening. The 56-story hotel tower and a 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) casino were now expected to open in early 2019. The delay was attributed to ongoing work on the project's designs. Other factors were struggles with the devaluation of Malaysian currency and in the Chinese economy. At the time, the resort was expected to include a "celestial sphere" which would display guests' selfie images, a feature that was expected to appeal to millennial customers. By July 2016, Genting was finalizing designs for the hotel tower and the casino floor, ahead of plans to complete foundation work. The hotel tower was expected to begin rising by the end of 2016. In October 2016, approximately 30 people were on the site performing minor construction work. That month, PETA wrote a letter to Genting's chairman, Lim Kok Thay, pleading for him to have the resort's panda exhibit removed from the project. Genting stated that the exhibit had already been removed from the project "a long time ago."
Construction cranes were expected to be placed at the site in early 2017, but their unavailability resulted in the delay of construction starting. In May 2017, the resort's opening was delayed to 2020 after the project was redesigned to attract younger gamblers. The installation of cranes and the start of construction was expected within three months. The parking garage had already been finished, and was to be used by the eventual 5,000 construction workers. Edward Farrell, a casino industry executive who had just been announced as the first president of the resort, said that the project's earlier design "had a lot of traditional, older Chinese architecture and elements that were within it. The company has really taken a look at the market in Las Vegas throughout the past couple of years, and it has really shifted to something that's much more modern. [...] much more Shanghai than maybe Beijing, with technology and a modern looking feel."
Farrell further stated that the company went "back and forth on a lot of design elements. […] The more modern Chinese theme fits in more to where we're really going with this resort. When we open up, we'll use the newest and most recent technology and have appeal to people over the next 30, 40, 50 years." Farrell also said that the design phase was nearing its end, and that, "We've done a lot of construction that nobody has seen over the last two or three years — not exciting stuff, like utility lines, working out easements and building a garage with some office space." Upcoming construction would focus on the hotel towers and the casino structure.
Construction and lawsuit
In October 2017, W.A. Richardson Builders was announced as the project's construction manager. That month, demolition began on some steel beams and concrete left from the Echelon project that would not to be used in Genting's plans for Resorts World. Cranes were expected to be installed at the site over the following eight weeks, and the resort's opening was expected for late 2020. The hotel towers, adjacent to the eventual casino, were 10 stories tall at the time. Upon completion, the towers were to stand 56 stories and 679 feet, slightly taller than the Wynn Las Vegas resort, located just southeast of Resorts World on the other side of South Las Vegas Boulevard. It was expected that the towers would progress one floor every eight days during construction, which began later in 2017.
As of October 2018, the project had reached the 35th floor. The project had more than 1,000 construction workers engaged in steel, concrete and glass work throughout the site. Thousands of additional construction workers were expected to be on site by mid-2019. The project is on track for a late-2020 opening, with 3,400 rooms.
In December 2018, Wynn Resorts filed a federal trademark infringement lawsuit against Genting, alleging similarities between Resorts World and Wynn's Las Vegas and Macau resorts. Alleged similarities included a curved facade, and horizontal lines in between panels of bronze glass. Wynn Resorts alleged that Genting planned to profit by misleading visitors of Resorts World into believing that it was affiliated with Wynn's nearby Las Vegas resort. Wynn Resorts also alleged that someone involved in Resorts World Las Vegas had requested a local architect to produce a design for the project that would be identical or similar to Wynn's resorts. In January 2019, attorneys for Resorts World Las Vegas responded to the lawsuit, stating that the project had nearly two years before its opening and that it currently consisted of "a bare, skeletal structure covered by a few floors of window paneling," stating that once the resort was completed, it would look "dramatically different from Wynn's properties, dispelling any suggestion that a reasonable consumer could confuse the two resorts for each other."
Attorneys for the project also stated that renderings of the building had been shown to Wynn executives during a meeting in July 2018, and that the building's design had been modified since then, with the earlier design having been "more similar to Wynn's than the current" design. The attorneys stated that the Resorts World project was not contacted by Wynn Resorts until the time of the lawsuit filing and responded, "Given that Wynn was aware at least six months ago of (Resorts World Las Vegas) design renderings that arguably looked more similar to Wynn's properties than do the current renderings, its heavy-handed, holiday-timed filing appears more directed at shutting down construction of a business competitor than avoiding any hypothetical confusion of customers two years down the road." New renderings of the project, created in January 2019 after the lawsuit was filed, showed the resort with red and orange facades. Wynn Resorts stated that the new renderings "are merely drawings which do not reflect the actual construction directly across the street from our resort. We will continue to pursue our legal claims and injunctive relief in this matter."
Wynn Resorts sought a temporary restraining order against the project with the potential to shut down construction. Resorts World stated that the halt of construction would delay the installation of glass panels and could cost an estimated $169 million, with immediate layoffs of 500 construction workers, out of a total of 1,500 workers involved with the project. A U.S. District Court judge delayed ruling on Wynn Resorts' request and directed attorneys for the two sides to attend a hearing in late January 2019 to discuss the project's design. Wynn Resorts stated a desire to agree upon a design at the hearing and avoid causing construction delays and job layoffs. Genting believed it would prevail at the hearing, where it planned to present further information to dispute Wynn's lawsuit. Wynn Resorts and Genting settled the dispute a day before the scheduled hearing, with Genting agreeing to have its design team make several changes to the project to differentiate it from the Wynn properties. By mid-May 2019, construction on the conjoined 59-story hotel towers had reached the 55th floor. The towers were expected to be topped out within several months.
Resorts World Las Vegas will include:
- 59-story hotel with 3,400 hotel rooms
- 110,000-square-foot (10,000 m2) casino, with baccarat as a dominant table game.
- 3,200-seat theater
- 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) of convention space
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- Velotta, Richard N. (March 11, 2013). "Taking a closer look at Singapore". VegasInc.com. Retrieved December 12, 2018.
For some, the name Resorts World Las Vegas seems unimaginative. But it's a brand loyal customers know. There's a Resorts World Sentosa and a Resorts World Casino New York City.
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