Steve Wynn jumps back into the game
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The city’s casino king is at it again. A year and a half after Steve Wynn left the gambling business, he announced he will open ”Le Reve,” a resort he predicts will be unlike any other on the Las Vegas Strip.
”People are going to come from everywhere to see it and marvel at it,” Wynn said Friday in a speech during the 15th annual World Gaming Congress and Expo at the Venetian hotel-casino.
”La Reve” means ”the dream” in French and is the name of a Pablo Picasso painting Wynn owns.
Wynn has been quiet on his plans for the old Desert Inn resort he bought for $270 million in June 2000. Wynn made the purchase just months after he sold Mirage Resorts Inc. to MGM Grand Inc. for $4.4 billion in March 2000. Mirage properties included Treasure Island, Mirage, Bellagio and the Golden Nugget.
Wynn made about $483 million on the sale, and casino executives and gambling analysts assumed the man who sparked the Las Vegas megaresort building boom would create another major project.
Wynn, 59, spoke to the crowd for an hour, but only spent 10 minutes talking about his new project. He revealed few details, saying the resort will have two theaters, great shopping and restaurants.
The resort won’t have a theme, something very un-Vegas.
”It’s about our desert and the southwestern United States,” he said. ”It’s time for Las Vegas to have its own hotel.”
Wynn predicted ”Le Reve” will compete with the upscale Bellagio.
He said Chanel and Christian Dior already have agreed to open stores in the resort. ”Balthazar,” a New York restaurant, also will open in ”Le Reve.” Wynn said the rest of the restaurants will be new and will ”become famous.”
One of the resort’s theaters will feature a show about a fictional tribe in the Himalayas that lives in isolation. Children in the tribe can fly until they reach the age of 11, Wynn explained.
The show will be about a young man who refuses to accept his loss of flight and the adventures he has as he tries to regain flight.
Cirque du Soleil founder Franco Dragone will be the resort’s entertainment director, but Wynn said the show will be completely different from Cirque du Soleil shows at Treasure Island and Bellagio.
Wynn did not say when ”Le Reve” will open, but said the design is finished and a model of the property will be on display in the lobby of the closed Desert Inn in about a month. He has said previously the resort would open in about 2 1/2 years.
According to plans filed with the Clark County Planning Commission, the resort will include a 120,000-square-foot casino, 15 restaurants and entertainment venues, 70,000 square feet of retail space, 132,000 square feet of convention space, two wedding chapels, a luxury spa and a massive three-acre pool deck.
Much of the Desert Inn will be imploded to make way for the new resort. One tower will be imploded early Tuesday morning.
Wall Street analysts have estimated the price of the project at $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion, but Wynn did not disclose the price during his speech.
Wynn said his personal art collection will be displayed in a gallery that will open Nov. 13 in the Desert Inn’s old gift shop.
Wynn is credited with changing the Las Vegas Strip into a gambling bonanza. He opened the Mirage hotel-casino in 1989, sparking an unprecedented building boom on and off the Strip. Megaresorts became the destination of choice and Las Vegas became the nation’s fastest-growing metropolitan area.
”Le Reve has been the most wonderful experience of my life,” he said.
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