Station's Viva could top CityCenter
July 2, 2008
Casinos recently revealed that it is looking to build a massive multi-use
casino, resort and entertainment complex that would be larger and more
expensive than MGM Mirage’s $8 billion CityCenter project currently being built
on the Las Vegas Strip.
Station’s plans call for 110 acres of land it owns at the site of its Wild Wild West Casino on Tropicana Ave. just west of the Strip to be redeveloped into what could ultimately become a $10 billion project. Known as “Viva” it would include several hotels, casino complexes, restaurants, entertainment venues, shopping and other amenities. Station President Lorenzo Fertitta and CEO Frank Fertitta III said the possibility of building an arena was also being discussed.
The project, the Fertittas said, would be built in phases, with the first phase including three hotel towers with a total of 5,200 rooms and a large casino facility.
“As we started looking at the site, originally we were talking about one hotel-casino,” Lorenzo Fertitta told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “But as we got more property we decided we have the ability to put multiple properties on there and create a whole development.”
“Based on the build-out and density of what we're planning, it would be similar in size and scale to the CityCenter project,” Frank Fertitta III added.
The company is currently in the midst of talking to financial institution and hotel companies to partner with it for the project. “There isn't a hotel company we haven't been talking to,” Frank Fertitta III said.
The news comes as Station is planning to open its $675 million Aliante Station resort-casino in North Las Vegas later this year. It is also in the early development stages of a new gaming property in west Las Vegas on Durango Drive near I-215.
There are questions as to just how viable another multi-billion-dollar casino-resort project in Las Vegas will be, especially given how other development projects — Crown Las Vegas, the Cosmopolitan and redevelopment plans for the site of the Tropicana — have all run into financial snags amid the less than stellar economy. But many analysts point to two factors that could spell success for Station: the company’s reputation and the fact that it now operates as a private company following last year’s $5.4 billion buyout by an investment group led by the Fertittas and Colonly Capital LLC.
“It’s a real project we should all take very seriously,” Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Bill Lerner said. “When you have land and you have expertise, money will follow. The good news is they don't have to raise the capital for it right now. The credit market will work itself out over a period of time.”
Had Station Casinos still been a publicly-traded company, investors might not look favorably on such a project, Lerner said.
“It is a project Wall Street would have taken exception to,” he said. “It is outside of what is viewed to be their core locals market niche.”
No timetables were given for either approval of the proposed project or an expected completion date. Lorenzo Fertitta said he expects this to keep his company’s hands full for some time to come.
“It will be a pretty significant development and a significant property that will keep us busy for the next 10 years,” he said.
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