300-room hotel expected to open in May 2011

Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem could restart construction of its 3,000-seat concert and conference center by year's end, a top executive said this week.

“We’re probably just a few months from making that happen,” said Michael Leven, COO of parent company Las Vegas Sands.

Leven offered no time frame for resuming work on a shopping mall planned for the casino site.

He spoke at the groundbreaking for the property’s long-awaited 300-room hotel.

LVS shelved the hotel in late 2008 when the recession hit but decided later to resume the project, partly in response to pressure from local and state officials, partly as a result of Pennsylvania’s decision to legalize table games. The Sands casino is expected to add 89 table games this summer.

The property has underperformed initial projections, generating $248 million in gambling revenues its first year, well below the $465 million projected.

The hotel is scheduled to open in May 2011.