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Top executive for Resorts World Las Vegas departs

Christian Goode, the top executive for the planned $4 billion Resorts World Las Vegas development, has departed the project, the company said Wednesday.

Goode, who oversaw the Americas Division for Malaysia-based Genting Berhad, was to oversee both development and operations of the planned Strip hotel-casino.

A Genting spokesman said in an email that company executive Gerald Gardner, a former chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, would take over leading Resorts World Las Vegas. Gardner has been with Resorts World since last year.

In an email, Genting Vice President of Corporate Communications Michael Levoff said the company hopes to break ground on the development between April and June.

“Genting is in the process of developing the first new and unique Vegas Strip property in the last decade,” Levoff said. “Creating something substantial that will be a draw to both locals and visitors alike is no easy feat, and we want to get it right.”

Genting bought the site for Resorts World from Boyd Gaming Corp., in March 2013 for $350 million and announced plans for the project. The site, once home to the Stardust, houses the unfinished Echelon development. Boyd halted construction on Echelon in August 2008.

Levoff said preliminary work had been done on the site, including a $2 million utility relocation at the corner of the Strip and Resorts World Drive. Genting has also renewed building permits and is finalizing the development agreement with the Clark County.

Genting expects to name a construction manager for Resorts World Las Vegas by next month. The company also will bring experts from its New York and Florida offices to work on the project.

Gardner spent more than a year as chief of staff to Sandoval. An attorney, he spent five years as an assistant district attorney in Carson City and almost five years in the Nevada attorney general’s office.

Genting was given a preliminary finding of suitability to hold a state gaming license by Nevada gaming regulators in May. The company still will need to apply for a full gaming license before Resorts World Las Vegas can open.

Construction is expected take place over multiple years and include at least two or three phases.

Goode was president of Genting’s planned Resorts World Miami development that was never built because Florida did not legalize a casino for the Biscayne Bay site. He previously was chief financial officer of Resorts World New York City.

Resorts World Las Vegas’ initial phase is projected to include 3,000 hotel rooms, a casino with a combined 3,500 slot machines and table games, 30 food and beverage outlets, a 4,000-seat theater and an elaborate garden attraction that will serve as the property’s front door to the Strip.

“We want to bring something new to Las Vegas,” Goode told the Nevada Gaming Commission in May. “That is the goal on the project.”

Goode said last year that Genting would incorporate 80 percent to 85 percent of the Echelon buildings into Resorts World. He said it would take 24 to 36 months to complete the project’s first phase.

Resorts World Las Vegas is expected to provide $1.5 billion in construction wages and $84 million in taxes while employing several thousand workers.

Once open, the property would account for 8,500 direct jobs and 3,300 indirect jobs. The development is projected to generate $155 million in annual tax revenue.

Genting has a market capitalization of more than $40 billion and operates casinos around the world, including Resorts Worlds in Singapore, Malaysia and Manila, Philippines, and at New York’s Aqueduct Racetrack.

Genting also has investments and businesses in biotech/life science research, energy production, oil and gas exploration, plantations and property development. The company collected $5.2 billion in revenue in 2013, has cash on hand of more than $5 billion and has just $3 billion in long-term debt.

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Find him on Twitter: @howardstutz.

 

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