When SLS opens in a few weeks, replacing the former Sahara at the northern tip of the Strip, it will be a big deal. But now we know it’s just the beginning of what appears to be a major momentum shift.
On Monday, Australia’s Crown Resorts announced the formation of a new company that has acquired controlling interest in the 34-acre Strip parcel where the New Frontier was imploded in 2007. The cost: $280 million. The players: Crown billionaire chairman James Packer, who has sought a presence on the Strip since before the recession; hedge fund giant Oaktree Capital; and Andrew Pascal, co-chairman and CEO of the new company. The plan: build a brand new Las Vegas casino resort to open in 2018.
The site is directly across Las Vegas Boulevard from Wynn, where Pascal—Elaine Wynn’s nephew—was once president and chief operating officer.
If a potential casino family feud isn’t enough to get you excited about this project, consider that it could open immediately after the first phase debut of Malaysian company Genting Group’s Resorts World Las Vegas, the $4 billion, 3,000-room project next door.
The addition of two brand new hotel-casino mega-projects from two new, different operators is an earth-shaker; the fact they’ll be right next to each other on the long-dormant northern end of the Boulevard is almost too good to be true.
The energy on the Strip north of Spring Mountain will soon be overwhelming. SBE chief Sam Nazarian looks like an oracle for turning Sahara into SLS, and MGM Resorts’ City of Rock festival development across the street seems pretty smart, too. Rejuvenation awaits Circus Circus and the Riviera, and it’s probably just a matter of time now before Carl Icahn sells or develops the aborted behemoth Fontainebleau. Exciting times are back.