The gaming industry’s modern-day Barnum, Steve Wynn, is slowly lifting the curtain on his latest project, and even his competitors are rooting for the casino impresario to pull off another masterpiece of resort showmanship.
After selling his Mirage Resorts holdings last year, including the sumptuous Bellagio and the Mirage in Las Vegas, Wynn purchased the stately but financially ailing Desert Inn. Most of that property is being torn down; in its place, Wynn has promised a casino-resort to eclipse the Bellagio.
Whether Wynn can outdo himself remains to be seen.
The current proposal calls for a resort where water and gardens will provide the setting for an elegantly sedate upscale retreat. Some believe the main target will be middle-aged baby boomers, a lucrative market since they will be the recipients of an immense transfer of wealth as assets pass from the thrift-conscious generation that weathered the Depression and World War II.
At the southwest corner of Wynn’s property will be the resort’s elaborate welcome mat, a four-acre lake (about half the size of the one that fronts the Bellagio) with a dramatic 44-foot fountain. To the north of the lake, construction plans have a curving 45-story tower with more than 2,400 suites.
Behind the hotel will be a three-acre pool deck and spa, and two showrooms are planned; one might house a water production. The Desert Inn’s fabled golf course is to be spared. The complex will have about 15 restaurants.
In what has become de rigueur for Las Vegas resorts, substantial space for retail is planned and, of course, there will be a casino — about 120,000 square feet of green felt and slot machines. Three villas for high rollers Togel and a connected private casino are also in the works. No timetable or construction costs have been announced, but the project’s price tag is estimated to be more than $1 billion.
When Wynn opened the Mirage in 1989, the tropical resort with its erupting volcano on the sidewalk set off a building explosion in Las Vegas that lasted a decade. One after another, themed hotel-casinos sprouted like mushrooms, replicating Paris, New York, Monte Carlo and Venice. However, none matched the $1.6 billion Bellagio, which was inspired by the Lake Como region of Italy.