Resorts World Las Vegas will begin full-scale construction sometime in the last three months of this year, an executive affiliated with the $4 billion project told Nevada gaming regulators today.
Appearing before the Nevada Gaming Control Board almost exactly a year after the project held its ceremonial groundbreaking, Resorts World General Counsel Gerald Gardner said construction would get underway in earnest in the fourth quarter, with site activity starting to ramp up this summer.
Gardner said construction of the Chinese-themed resort should be finished in early 2019. Project officials had previously said it would open in 2018.
In an interview after his remarks to the board, Gardner, a former chief of staff to Gov. Brian Sandoval, attributed the delay to ongoing work on a “complex design.” He said struggles in the Chinese economy and with Malaysian currency had also affected the timeline.
But officials with Malaysia-based Genting Group, the project’s developer, said today the company was in a strong financial position.
Resorts World broke ground May 5, 2015.
An elaborate ceremony at the time included a traditional Chinese lion dance and remarks from high-ranking officials, such as Sandoval and Lt. Gov. Mark Hutchison.
Hutchison said the resort would be a “magnificent addition” to the tourism industry and a “jewel in the desert.”
Resorts World is being built on the north end of the Strip at the site where the Stardust resort stood until it was imploded by Boyd Gaming Corp.
Boyd had started to build a new resort there called Echelon but abandoned the project amid the recession. Genting, which bought the site from Boyd in 2013, is building Resorts World using the partially constructed Echelon structures.
Genting officials were at the gaming board’s meeting in Las Vegas today to get initial approval for a range of applications, including findings of suitability for various executives and corporate entities.
The three-member board gave its unanimous blessing, sending the applications to the Nevada Gaming Commission for final approval in two weeks.
Genting Chairman K.T. Lim told board members his company’s goal for Resorts World was to complement the Strip’s existing resorts while creating a “new and unique” destination. He said he remained “very excited and engaged” with the plans moving forward.
Once building activity is in full swing, Resorts World is expected to create about 5,000 direct construction jobs, Gardner said.
The resort will have about 2,500 full-time employees at opening and aims to attract both Asian and domestic tourists, Gardner said.
Plans for the debut of Resorts World include a hotel tower with more than 3,000 rooms, a 150,000-square-foot casino and other amenities that Gardner said would be the “latest, greatest thing on the Strip.”
The resort would be a meaningful step for the development of the north Strip, where empty lots and partially built developments have long taken up much of the space.
Genting received a preliminary finding of suitability from the board and commission two years ago.
Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said today he still thought Genting was a “very well-run company” that can have a big impact on the Las Vegas casino industry.
“Competition is a good thing, and I think having this property on the Strip will be a very good thing,” Burnett said.
Genting is a prominent part of the global hospitality industry, with properties in Malaysia, Singapore and elsewhere. In the United States, the company has a casino in New York — Resorts World New York City — and is involved with another planned casino in Massachusetts.