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Wynn Resorts planning $1.5B expansion for Las Vegas Strip property

Wynn Resorts is considering a 1,000-room expansion at its Strip property centered around a 38-acre lagoon that would host water skiing, paddle boarding and parasailing by day and fireworks displays at night.

The project, tentatively called Wynn Paradise Park, would cost about $1.5 billion to build and open in 2020 if work begins later this year as planned.

Wynn Chairman and CEO Steve Wynn described the plan at a company investment conference Wednesday.

“We have a chance to reinvent Las Vegas and make the whole venue an entertainment attraction … an idyllic beach paradise surrounded by white sand beaches,” Wynn told investors. “People come to Las Vegas from all over the world to live large and have a good time and we can dish up an irresistible entertainment attraction.”

The project would have to be approved by the Wynn board of directors. For weeks, there have been reports that Wynn was considering a new development on golf course land adjacent to the resort that would take advantage of the city’s strong meetings and conventions industry.

Wynn Paradise Park, which would also add 260,000 square feet of meeting space and guest suites with a separate bedroom, living room and balcony with unobstructed views of the waterfront, would be built on the 130-acre, 18-hole Wynn Golf Club.

A 1,000-room tower and a variety of food and beverage outlets, including the expansion of the current Country Club restaurant, also are in the plans.

The lake for the new development would be positioned directly east of the existing hotel-casino complex, according to a general massing model that shows approximate building placement but not a final design and was distributed in a J.P. Morgan investment report Wednesday night.

The tower structure, which wouldn’t be as tall as the existing Wynn Las Vegas and Encore towers but would have the same bronze-toned color scheme from those towers and one of his Macau properties, would rest on the western lake shoreline. The meetings area would be north and east of that tower, also on the shoreline, according to the model.

In the center of the lake, which would be lined along a 1-mile perimeter with white sand beaches and a boardwalk, would be a 120-foot island from which fireworks could be launched.

It hasn’t been determined what would happen with the golf course, a company spokesman said Thursday. The model illustration shows golf course holes in addition to the lake development, but the spokesman said the board would likely make a determination on what would happen to the course.

The Wynn and Encore Las Vegas complex already has 4,748 rooms, a 186,000-square-foot casino, 34 food and beverage outlets with celebrity chefs, two showrooms, three nightclubs and two spas.

It also has 99,000 square feet of retail space that is being expanded by more than 75,000 square feet opening next year.

Joseph Greff, who wrote the J.P. Morgan investment report on the investment conference, said the new hospitality amenity could capture new customers and nongaming discretionary dollars with the beach activity and water sports activities envisioned on the lake.

He said the project could be reviewed by the Wynn board by the third quarter and, if approved, construction could begin by fall.

“Wynn management also called out the importance (and) value of water rights in Las Vegas, as the only other property that has comparable water rights to Wynn is Bellagio, essentially limiting any competition,” Greff said in the report. “Bellagio’s water rights are tied to its fountains.”

Greff said the approximately 1 percent increase in room capacity on the Strip that would be brought by Wynn Paradise Park could easily be absorbed by the market by 2020.

The company is in the midst of two major construction projects on opposite sides of the globe.

The Wynn Palace, a 1,700-room resort, 870 of which are suites, is being built on the Cotai Strip in Macau. The project is expected to open in July or August with Wynn potentially eyeing the 8/8 date to take advantage of Chinese gamblers’ favorite number.

Wynn Boston Harbor, in Everett, Massachusetts, would be in close proximity to Boston’s Logan International Airport and the Boston Garden sports arena.

The property would take advantage of the 25 million gaming-age residents that live within 400 miles of the site. With a construction period of 30 to 32 months, Wynn Boston Harbor could open by 2019.

The plans were announced as tourism indicators continue to rise. The Strip’s occupancy rate was 88.2 percent and the room rate $131.40 inFebruary, compared to the same time last year at 85.9 percent and $125.30, according to Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority figures

Wynn shares were one of the leading gainers Thursday on Wall Street, adding $10.44, or 11.66 percent, to close at $99.99.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Find him on Twitter: @RickVelotta

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