A LOT of money goes in and out of Las Vegas every day. (Well, I think we can say most of it goes in and just stays there.) Daily gambling revenue on the Strip amounts to nearly $17 million (more than $6 billion a year), not to mention all the other luxuries we indulge in like restaurants, spas, and luxury hotels. With all the money spent on the Strip, you might think any new casino resort would be an overnight success, but they have to earn their place to play at the table too.
Words like “small” and “subtle” were left out of the Las Vegas dictionary. A 10,000 sq ft villa suite that goes for $40,000 a night, and cost $15 million to build? That’s Vegas, baby. When plans for new hotel on the Strip are announced, you can bet it will be a big project. Years of planning and unthinkable amounts of money are spent turning a casino hotel project into a reality, and a tough economy can make it even more challenging. Here are four casino resort projects in various stages of development – one or two of which could be the next big thing on the Strip.
1. Gansevoort Las Vegas
It may be a funny name, especially since it will be replacing the rather less-fancy-sounding “Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall & Saloon”, but the Gansevoort Group knows their stuff. They have a couple swanky boutique hotels in New York already which would indicate that this is going to be a hot spot on the Strip. The Gansevoort will be an upscale boutique hotel casino, centrally located on the Strip, and catering to the luxury customers. Plans include 207 rooms (19 of which are suites), a 40,000 sq ft casino, and a rooftop pool with huge beach and night club. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Gansevoort Las Vegas is on track to open its doors in early 2014.
2. Resorts World Las Vegas
This casino resort has even bigger plans. Resorts World Las Vegas will take the place of short-lived Stardust Resort and Casino, which closed in 2006 and was destroyed a year later in order to begin construction on Echelon Place – a massive project which was suspended only a year later in 2008. Five years later, the Genting Group announced plans to overcome the seemingly cursed northern Strip location with the massive Resorts World Las Vegas, an Asian-themed casino resort with 3,500 guest rooms and a 175,000 sq ft casino. Construction will begin in 2014, and they hope to open their doors in 2016.
3. SLS Resort Casino
At the far north end of the Strip, this casino hotel was formerly the Sahara Hotel and Casino, which closed its doors in 2011 after more than 50 years in operation. In February 2013, a $415 million renovation was announced which will transform the property into the 1,600 room SLS Las Vegas, with plans to open in Fall 2014. SLS has had success with their boutique hotels in Beverly Hills and South Beach, and is also opening a new hotel in New York this year.
4. Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas
“Too big to fail” certainly doesn’t apply to Vegas casino hotels, and the Fontainebleau is living proof of that. Construction for the $3 billion project began in April 2007 and the opening was schedule for 2009. It would have been one of the Strip’s most impressive properties with 4,000 rooms, 68-floors, and 24 restaurants. Unfortunately, construction was stopped at about 70% completion after a chain of events surrounding the national economic recession led to the Fontainebleau’s bankruptcy and demise. Today the building still stands as Las Vegas Valley’s tallest, and stands out as a sore reminder of what could have been. But the fate of the Fontainebleau is not yet sealed, and while the building still stands, we can keep hoping that the project will come back to life.