|By Jeff Simpson, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Dec. 25--Construction of Steve Wynn's Le Reve
is now expected to get under way by March, with a planned December start
delayed by excavations on the Desert Inn site, Wynn's brother said.
Steve Wynn said in October that he anticipated beginning
construction on his water-themed Le Reve project by the end of December.
Kenny Wynn, director of Wynn Development & Design, said
recently that construction was held up by delays excavating the basement
levels of the Desert Inn's 14-story Augusta Tower, which was imploded Oct.
23 to make way for the new resort complex.
"The excavation is a complicated process," Kenny Wynn
said. "We have to remove the entire basement to make way for the (Le Reve)
Steve Wynn recently forecast a 28- to-30-month
construction timetable for his planned 2,455-room, 42-story hotel tower and
a man-made lake. If his forecast holds, Le Reve would open by September
Wynn paid Starwood Hotels & Resorts $270 million last
year to acquire the Desert Inn.
Wynn was traveling and was unavailable to answer
questions about financing for the project. In October Wynn said he
anticipated beginning financing efforts late this year.
"We've turned down offers for money," Wynn said at the
time. "We're not ready for financing until November, before we begin
Wynn said Le Reve would cost about $1.6 billion, about
the same amount he spent to build Bellagio while at the helm of Mirage
Resorts. He plans to sell public debt, but not to sell stocks in his Wynn
Le Reve, which is French for "the dream," and the name of
a Picasso masterpiece owned by Wynn and his wife, Elaine, will feature two
Wynn said he's hired Franco Dragone, who directed both of
Cirque du Soleil's Las Vegas productions, "O" and "Mystere," to produce a
show about a remote Himalayan tribe, a tribe whose children can fly, but
only until they are 11 years old.
A young man's quest to regain the power of flight will be
the show's focus.
Entertainment is the key to keeping Las Vegas fresh and
exciting, Wynn said.
"It's not gambling, and you can't just build rooms," Wynn
noted. "Entertainment is art, and there's no guarantees in art."
Steve Wynn and a few hundred invited
guests gathered at the old Desert Inn property on the Las Vegas strip on
Thursday, 10/31, to break ground for the $1.85 billion Le Reve project.
Construction will start immediately and is expected to be finished in thirty
months. The grand opening of Le Reve, French for The Dream, is slated for
April, 2005. Wynn has all of the necessary financing for the project in
place and has just completed an IPO of Wynn Resorts stock that provided the
final $450 million needed to complete Le Reve. On hand at the ceremonies
was Wynn’s business partner, Kazua Okada, Japanese corporate chief and
controlling owner of
Corporation, gaming device manufacturer. Mr. Okada has invested $380
million in Wynn Resorts.
Mr. Wynn is noted for his ability to
design and build mega resorts that define the standard in Las Vegas
properties. The creator of
Treasure Island and
Bellagio properties has stated that Le Reve will not have a central
theme but rather will offer guests the ultimate in casual elegance and
luxurious surroundings. The property itself will be the primary draw rather
than a theme. Steve Wynn, the visionary that gave the Las Vegas strip full
size sailing ships that sink, active volcanoes and performing fountains, has
an eight-story mountain enclosing a lake planned for Le Reve. The mountain
will run parallel to the strip and offer designed views to different areas
of the hotel .The 2,700-hotel room property will have oversize suites with
large, opulent bathrooms, plasma screen televisions and high-speed wireless
Internet throughout. The property will include a new golf course, 110,000
square foot casino and eighteen restaurants. There will be a full service
Maserati dealership at the property. Le Reve is focused to attract the
high-end guests that currently stay at the Bellagio.
Friday, April 18, 2003
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Le Reve called key to growth
New casino project viewed as spur
to other Strip development
By JEFF SIMPSON
Construction at Le Reve, Steve Wynn's $2 billion megaresort, continues
Thursday. This image shot from the fifth floor of the main casino tower
building shows the parking garage, left, and aqua theater with circular
Amy Beth Bennett.
A local gaming expert is convinced
Steve Wynn's Le Reve project will spur new Strip development even though
most gaming operators are still waiting to see if his $2 billion project
"As Le Reve becomes closer to being a
reality, those who are waiting to see if Wynn will succeed will act,"
University of Nevada, Las Vegas professor and industry expert Bill Thompson
predicted Thursday. "Le Reve should trigger more investment, but the
doubters are still waiting. People are always waiting for a sign Wynn can't
pull it off, but he always pulls it off."
Thompson's statements came after Wynn
reported Thursday that his latest Strip project is on pace for a spring 2005
"The job was so well planned," Wynn
said of the work done by his design team and lead contractor Tony Marnell.
"It's working like a greased pig. You can't stop it."
When Wynn opened The Mirage, Treasure
Island and Bellagio, his successes prompted other Strip developers to build
their own megaresorts, Thompson said.
But as Le Reve takes shape, none of the
major operators have yet committed to opening their own new Strip projects,
instead focusing on adding hotel towers and other amenities to flagship Las
Thompson, however, said Le Reve is an
advertisement for the vitality of the Strip.
"For Las Vegas, Le Reve should be the
city's number one priority," he said. "Las Vegas is a city that talks about
winning, and Le Reve seems to be a winner."
Wynn Resorts' contractors are now
working on the sixth floor of the main hotel, which is the second floor of
guest rooms, Wynn said. Le Reve plans call for a 50-story tower with 45
floors of rooms.
The bottom levels will be below ground
valet parking areas, with the casino floor, a mezzanine floor and the spa
floor above them.
Workers are now finishing the third
floor of the five-deck parking garage.
About 700 workers are building the
project, a number Wynn said will increase to 2,600 when construction peaks
Another 250 workers are already on Wynn
Resorts' corporate staff.
Wynn said construction of Le Reve's
signature design element, its five-story, man-made mountain, will begin in
June or July.
"The mountain is by far the most
complicated thing," Wynn said. "Tony Marnell is trying to work out how he'll
Golf course construction is under way,
and Wynn said it will be a special course.
He said construction of Wynn Resorts'
other significant project, a Macau casino resort, is waiting for the
semiautonomous Chinese island's expected approval of rules allowing casinos
to offer and collect credit.
"We got a draft of the legislation,"
Wynn said. "It should be approved soon."
The draft legislation would accomplish
two things, Wynn said.
First, casinos can make a lot more
money if they can intelligently grant credit to worthy customers.
Second, if casinos are lending money to
gamblers the market for the loan sharks who now hang around Macau casinos
should dry up. Eliminating the casino loan sharks would please U.S. gaming
regulators who worry about the Wild West image of Macau casinos.
"Casinos lend money at no interest,"
Wynn deadpanned. "Pretty tough for a (loan shark) to compete with that."
The Macau casino is tentatively planned
to be called Wynn Macau, he said.
Wynn Resorts closed Thursday at $16.01
down 10 cents or 0.62 percent.