The site of the Echelon on the northend of the Strip, with its naked steel beams and half-poured concrete, has been an eyesore for almost seven years.
But Malaysia-based Genting Group says its prepared to move forward now on a $4 billion project on the site they bought from Boyd Gaming in March 2013. Genting spent $350 million to acquire the 80-plus acre site.
The development - Resorts World Las Vegas - on the former Echelon site has been in planning for two years, with Genting now set to break ground on May 5, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The construction process will take several years. No official timeline has been released due to the size of the project, but it's expected to be built in multiple stages.
The first phase of Resorts World Las Vegas will include 3,000 hotel rooms and a casino with a combined 3,500 slot machines and table games. The project could eventually include multiple hotels and some 5,000 to 6,000 hotel rooms.
The news of shovels moving dirt on May 5 on Resorts World Las Vegas is good news for the northend of the Strip. But, the work is scheduled to begin one day after the Riviera Hotel and Casino is closed to make way for an expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center.
"It's a good sign for Vegas that Resorts World is finally going to start to move forward," Howard Stutz, gaming columnist with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, told KNPR's State of Nevada on Wednesday.
Stutz said Resorts World and the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center will "bring an a lot of attention to the north end of the Strip."
Resorts World Las Vegas will be the first new casino to be built on the Strip in almost five years. Deutsche Bank spent $4.1 billion to build the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, which opened in December 2010.
The Cosmopolitan was the most expensive casino ever built on the Strip, but it struggled to make a profit and attract gamblers to its casino. The luxury property has yet to report a profit.
Genting's plan is to use some of the existing structure that Boyd Gaming had started but stopped in August 2008 for the new Resorts World Las Vegas. The site was the old home to the Stardust casino.
"(Genting) is very deliberate about the way they do business," Stutz told KNPR. "They also wanted to be found suitable by Nevada gaming regulators, which happened last year. It's not a license, but they are a step ahead when they do go for a license for the project."
Genting announced the project two years ago, with the gaming company anticipating breaking ground last year and opening the first phase next year. The first phase of Resorts World Las Vegas is expected to open near the end of 2017.
Stutz attributed the delay to Genting wanting "to wait for the economy to shake out." Genting, which is a worldwide gaming company, already operates Resorts World casinos in Singapore, Malaysia and New York.
Howard Stutz, gaming columnist, Las Vegas Review Journal.
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