Given its history, hard not to be skeptical about Resorts World’s future

First it was supposed to open in 2016. Then 2018. Then 2019. Now, 2020.

Resorts World Las Vegas, the supersized, Chinese-themed casino project on the Strip, got a new boss this week, another expected opening date, and another promise of soon-to-come heavy work.

Developer Genting Group of Malaysia announced Wednesday that it hired Edward Farrell, a 30-year casino industry veteran, as the first president of the planned resort.

Farrell told the Review-Journal that cranes would be installed over the next 90 days, 1,000 construction workers would be onsite by next year, and 3,000 union employees would be hired to operate the $4 billion resort when it opens in 2020.

Well, if it opens. The project hasn’t shown much progress getting built since its 2013 unveiling, prompting many people in real estate to wonder: What’s going on with Resorts World?

Genting bought the 87-acre site on Las Vegas Boulevard from Boyd Gaming Corp., acquiring not only a massive spread on the north Strip but also the remains of Boyd’s mothballed resort project there, Echelon.

At the time, news reports said Genting was plotting a $2 billion project with 3,500 rooms and a 175,000-square-foot casino, as well as a replica of the Great Wall of China and a panda exhibit.

Plenty of people were excited. Las Vegas’ economy was shaky — unemployment was at 10 percent, double today’s rate — and the north Strip, with its vacant lots and partially built projects, needed help.

But the Resorts World site, for the most part, doesn’t seem to have changed much since Genting bought it, and its forecast opening date has been pushed back at least three times, according to reports.

The RJ reported this week that the project was held back by the devaluation of Malaysia’s currency and the unavailability of construction cranes.

After I asked about the delays and what construction work had taken place, Genting Americas spokesman Michael Levoff said in an email Friday: “We have taken our time to ensure the design is just right. We have already invested over $500 million in equity into the project.”

Will Resorts World get built? Time will tell. But given the delays and Las Vegas’ lengthy history of developers pitching massive projects and not following through, it’s tough to blame people who say they’re not holding their breath.

Who’s the boss?

Tivoli Village, with its delayed expansion project finished, is under new management.

Owner IDB Group, an Israeli conglomerate, has hired Pacific Retail Capital Partners in Southern California “to manage and reposition” the 28-acre retail and office property, according to an announcement Tuesday.

The open-air, Mediterranean-themed project at Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive opened in 2011, when the economy was a mess.

Its developers considered mothballing the project but built in phases instead. The second portion debuted last year, though management at one point expected to open it by late 2013.

Deals, deals, deals

A Las Vegas Valley credit union has bought an office building from a home-rental company.

Silver State Schools Credit Union purchased the building at 630 Trade Center Drive, just south of McCarran International Airport, for $7.5 million, property records show.

The sale, by American Homes 4 Rent, closed May 5.

A spokeswoman for the credit union declined to comment on the purchase.

Who said scandals were so bad?

The seemingly nonstop crises coming out of President Donald Trump’s White House may be giving you heartburn. But is the turmoil making it more affordable to buy a house?

Mortgage rates fell to the lowest level in weeks Wednesday morning, reaching 3.76 percent for a 30-year loan, according to listing-service Zillow.

In a press release, Zillow chief economist Svenja Gudell said political “drama” prompted rates to fall “as investors scale back their expectations for the passage of legislation that might boost economic growth, including tax reform and infrastructure spending.”

The lower rates, she added, will give house hunters “more room in their budgets as a very competitive home shopping season heats up.”

Three cheers for Washington!

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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