Breaks Ground On
New Las Vegas Casino
/Las Vegas Gaming
Wire/ - LAS VEGAS - Steve Wynn's newest dream came one step closer
to reality On October 31 when the Strip developer broke ground on
his $1.85 billion Le Reve.
Joined by a few hundred
family members, friends and business associates, Wynn said Le Reve
- which is French for The Dream - and its recently completed financing
deal represent a vote of confidence in the future of Las Vegas.
dreams into reality seems to be a hometown sport," Wynn said,
"and I'm a homeboy. It's a most significant day for Las Vegas
and for the state of Nevada."
Industry experts agreed
that Wynn's latest project will be a major plus for Las Vegas.
"Based on Steve Wynn's
history, Le Reve will create huge international demand to see what
he's done," Deutsche Banc casino industry analyst Andrew Zarnett
said. "That demand will translate into significant visitation
Las Vegas Visitors and
Convention Authority spokesman Rob Powers said the authority plans
to immediately begin using Le Reve in its marketing campaigns, noting
the boost new megaresort openings give to local tourism.
Wynn Resorts expects to
have 8,000 employees by the time of its scheduled opening in April
2005. Those workers are only part of the project's gigantic economic
impact, said University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor Keith Schwer,
director of UNLV's Center for Business and Economic Research.
The impact of the $1.85
billion project's direct spending will be at least doubled when indirect
expenditures are considered, Schwer said.
spending created from people and companies that receive the $1.85
billion, for a total of $3.7 billion," Schwer said.
Additionally, Wynn projects
have historically been market magnifiers, he said, predicting that
an unquantifiable economic jumpstart will result from other developers
and financiers lured by Wynn's example to invest in Las Vegas.
After the project opens,
the property's payroll and local spending will fuel additional job
creation, Schwer said.
"The general rule
is 1.5 additional jobs for every room," he said, indicating that
the 2,700-room megaresort could generate about 4,000 new non-casino
jobs in greater Las Vegas.
Schwer said Le Reve will
have another positive effect, albeit a difficult one to measure.
The introduction of a new,
well-run property and casino operating company should make the Strip
casino market more competitive.
"One recipe for disaster
for Las Vegas is if we become fat, dumb and happy, content with our
place as the number one gaming destination," Schwer said. "New
projects, especially Wynn's, keep us competitive and help Las Vegas
push the envelope."
Sens. John Ensign
and Harry Reid opened Thursday's ceremony, lauding Wynn's place as
the state's most significant business leader before Wynn addressed
The invited guests
gathered at the northern end of the planned Le Reve site, just south
of the remaining Desert Inn buildings.
Dozens of Wynn
Resorts workers gathered with shovels in hand, ready to collectively
take the figurative first steps of the planned 30-month project.
the the staffers who've helped him create plans for what he expects
to be the city's preeminent resort, Wynn thanked a number of Las Vegas
politicians in attendance.
Wynn saved his
kindest comments for his partner, Japanese corporate chief Kazuo Okada,
controlling owner of gaming-device maker Aruze Corp., who invested
$380 million in Wynn Resorts.
tell me that this is the largest construction finance deal ever done,
and there's one person I'd like to thank for making that possible,"
Wynn said. "I met Kazuo Okada when I was buying gaming devices
at Mirage, and I got to be friends with him. After that happened,
and he joined us, the project took shape. Then we had the muscle,
the financial strength, to turn our dream into a reality."
Wynn paid an appropriate
Halloween tribute to earlier Las Vegas pioneers who've operated at
the Desert Inn site.
feel the ghosts of Moe Dalitz... of Howard Hughes?" he asked
with a broad smile, pointing to the remaining elements of the former
Desert Inn, before joining Okada, former Gov. Bob Miller, Reid, Ensign,
best friend and board member Stanley Zax and wife Elaine Wynn with
shovels in front of the assembled Wynn Resorts team.
They then turned
symbolic shovelfuls of dirt, followed by a few moments of celebratory
After the ceremony,
Okada repaid Wynn's appreciation.
"I just love
him to death," Okada said through an interpreter. "I'm very
impressed with Steve's designs and I'm proud to be his partner."