Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

February 19, 2006

Podcaster Interviews Wynn: 'Q' Closing, 'Wynn Parkway'?

Posted by Hunter

So, I go away for the weekend and don't take my computer along and guess what happens? Podcaster Steve Friess interviews Steve Wynn and their conversation ranges from the closing of 'Avenue Q' to the ultimate development of the Wynn Golf Course.

If you're interested, the best thing to do is to listen to the entire podcast. Still, some brief highlights:

  • Wynn estimates he will save between $75 and $85MM by using the 'Q' theater for 'Spamalot'. Also, the convention space that will be built for Encore will be able to connect directly to WLV's convention space, something impossible if the Grail Theater would have been built as planned.
  • 'Avenue Q' was making money but not enough money to keep it in that spot. They looked for other, smaller spots but couldn't find something the right size.
  • Eventually the golf course will go and be split into several parcels. Up to two hotels and a giant lake will be built on parcels between the existing Fairway Villas and what is the half-way point through the course.
  • A 135ft tree lined 'Wynn Parkway' will eventually run through the parcel, connecting all of these various resorts.

The podcast is located here:

Also, for more on Encore, the RJ had an article recently:

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Read archived comments (14 so far)
February 20, 2006 12:31 AM Posted by Mike E

Is a 2010 opening for Encore a mistake? I know it was mentioned a few times in the RJ article, but it seems a bit too far off for a June ground-breaking. Yes, it'll be a taller tower, but it can't possibly take longer to construct than WLV since it'll share much of the same infrastructure.

I personally can't wait to make my speculations as I watch the construction progress (I'm a nerd, I know).

February 20, 2006 12:39 AM Posted by Hunter

The RJ article says 'by 2010'. My understanding is that Encore is supposed to break ground this Summer and be done in '08. That's what the most recently filed SEC forms state as well.

If they're going way off the reservation and pushing the date WAY out, they'll probably mention it this week on the conference call.

February 20, 2006 12:46 AM Posted by Hunter

And yeah, you're right - there's no way it can take anywhere near the 2.5 years that WLV took to build.

Encore shares the entire back of house complex including power plant with WLV - that's a huge amount of work that's done, not to mention demolition.

So yeah, a lot of Encore's work has already been done.

February 20, 2006 12:56 AM Posted by Doug

Is it just me or was the interviewer on the pod cast REALLY dumb (slow, uninformed and not very professional)?

I doubt if the golf course will be re-developed any time soon. From what I've read and heard the golf course is popular and doing well. Plus it's a great incentive for selling the high-quality conventions WLV wants. - And besides, Steve Wynn is around 64 years old and after the Encore project is completed he might be considering a slowed-down retirement (I know I would).

February 20, 2006 1:02 AM Posted by Hunter

Steve, the interviewer, has done a couple of these with Wynn for his podcast - the way he does it is just his style. In general I think he's usually pretty well prepped... Some of the comments in this interview were references to previous interviews... Plus, this was totally uncut to bring the audience all the info. Typically these are edited to remove the sketchy bits that are parts of all interviews.

One more thing with the golf course - check the details of the financing for WLV. I believe that the land the course sits on is part of the guarantee for the WLV bonds and it can't be developed on until WLV hits certain performance levels and return - and it CERTAINLY can't be built on and further leveraged until that's complete. He can plan all he wants but the financials have to line up as well.

February 20, 2006 12:54 PM Posted by Tom M

I really love this interview. You really get a sense of the man and his thinking in both interviews. I agree that the guy interviewing him comes across as a little slow and annoying but I think that is in part because Steve is so dynamic. In the end the interviewer got great information out of Steve and revealed his thinking on the entertainment side of the business. I wish he had spent more time on the Encore, Macau and future development and discussing issues with the Wynn Resort. In the end however, I feel so lucky to be around in a time where I can listen to an extremely powerful businessman do interviews over the internet. Keep up the good work all, I love it :)

February 22, 2006 12:23 PM Posted by gilli

I appreciated the interview. I listened to it with WLV's property map and Google map in front of me and could get a better sense of the areas they referenced.
BTW...the interviewer, Steve Friess, is a respected writer so broadcast is not his best talent. I've been listening to his weekly podcast for about six months and it is not bad in terms of Vegas info. He's also not a design expert and tends to be more interested in the entertainment aspects of Vegas which is why when Wynn was describing the property layout he seemed a bit confused, I think.

February 22, 2006 1:18 PM Posted by Hunter

For those that don't listen, the podcast is a great weekly event. I too have been listening for some time and really enjoy it.

February 22, 2006 6:10 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Like Gilli, I too, had a map in front of me the 3rd time I listened to this interview, to gather a better sence of what they were saying.

I agree, Encore if they start in June, won't take until 2010, I would guess, late 2008 or early 2009 is a more accurate date. He does not rush craftsmanship, or quality like his neighboor does. Also, yes some work has been done, but Encore is not a project like The Hotel, or Venezia, it will be totally self sustaining, complete with its own parking, lobbys, check-in, casino, and convention center, and pools, and night clubs.

February 26, 2006 2:20 PM Posted by Steve Friess

Ummm... I feel a little strange standing up for myself in this forum, but this is Steve Friess, the co-host of The Strip.

As someone noted, I didn't get a chance to edit the interview because it was full of so much hot stuff I rushed to get it posted. I also needed to get it up before my Newsweek Q-and-A went online the next morning so that people could find the podcast from the reference there.

I admit that I'm still getting my footing as a broadcaster -- my partner and co-host Miles works in TV and is far more comfortable with his voice on air -- but I also figured that the significance of the interview and all that's revealed in it would paper over some of my own flaws. As "dumb" as I sound, I must be doing something right because Wynn is comfortable enough revealing all that stuff to me and even cussing with me. And in some situations when I sound confused, I'm really asking questions deliberately in such a way to give the listener some background.

Sure, there were lots of questions I could have asked him and didn't. But I kept expecting the conversation to end the next moment. I was offered 10 minutes with him. We went 40. I don't usually let interview subjects just ramble as he did, but I've found over the course of interviewing him that the more you let him talk, the more he'll take you places you never planned to go. As a journalist, you have to make a judgment call.

When it's for a print publication, which is my natural ocean, nobody ever knows what went on to bring the public the information they read. That's why I love this new medium and the simplicity of someone like myself getting to experiment with it in such a manner. But I also run the risk of being embarrassed by how showing how the sausage is made.

Either way, it seems many of you listened to the conversation -- some of you several times -- and I'm grateful for that.

Steve Friess

February 27, 2006 4:22 PM Posted by josh

After hearing about the earler plans to create 1030sq. ft rooms, which would have truly been spetacular, the new and revised 2000 room tower with 700 sq ft. rooms is extremely disappointing.
Since the Encore parcel is so small, he should use some of the gold course for more restaurants, shops...instead of keeping it since it's gonna be gone anyways. Don't you think so?
But overall, I still think Encore is a more exciting project than the Palazzo.

February 27, 2006 7:14 PM Posted by socalduck

Steve, it was a fascinating interview. I was amazed with the amount of information he was willing to share. Keep up the great work!

February 28, 2006 12:04 PM Posted by Doug

Just as a quick explanation to Steve (the interviewer); I would have never made a disparaging comment if 'Newsweek' had not been in the credentials. I spent most of the 1970's and 80's as a broadcast journalist(radio) and I have high standards when it comes to professionalism. - In other words, if this had been some 'total amateur' that landed an interview with Steve Wynn I would have just said "that was nice".

For someone just getting their feet wet in broadcasting, Steve Wynn is a tough assignment. But as you know, every interview is a potential career maker - or breaker. And print and broadcast journalism are completely different animals.

Anyway, keep working on it and I'll be sure to read your print work.

March 18, 2006 2:36 AM Posted by Ryan Even

I'm very happy Q is closing because I'm sick and tired of seeing the orange fuzzy cabs driving all over town!