Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

January 20, 2007

Wynn Resorts Mulls Las Vegas Golf Course Plans

Posted by Hunter

We've discussed this in other threads but I thought it would be worthwhile to extract it out and focus the attention on 'The Vegas'.

The LV Biz Press has a blog entry on Wynn Resorts' activity in combining the parcels that make up the golf course into a set of properly zoned properties.

Is the golf course going to be re-developed sooner rather than later?

Update: In a recent interview on the Strip Podcast, Steve Wynn explains that this move was partially done due to the golf course being released from the mortgage collateral for the hotel.

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Read archived comments (62 so far)
January 20, 2007 3:45 AM Posted by BrianFey

I don't know where these people come up with their numbers! $500 Million for the golf course. I don't think so!!! Steve didn't spend anywhere near that amount on the golf course development, not unless they are counting the property cost.

I would love to see the golf course go, I can't wait to see what Steve has in mind. I hope he does the lake idea and builds hotels around it. Then he could do another fountain show, and combine the lights out of the lake of dreams, and then we would have no use for Bellagio at all anymore.

January 20, 2007 6:30 AM Posted by Pikes

Wynn should really start paying off some of his debt instead of creating more.

January 20, 2007 8:08 AM Posted by John

Brian, it would be nearly impossible, for Steve to create another fountain show, on this new lake. First of all, WET design is under a contract, negotiated with Steve during his tenure at Mirage Resorts, to MGM Mirage, and won't be working with any other operator any time soon, and I'm not sure if it is limited to the state of Nevada, or the U.S., but there are no international contractual obligations, hence the fountain show at Wynn Macau, designed by WET (and I'm almost positive he signed a major contract with the company, for the rights to Macau and Cotai). Also, WET design owns the patents for the shooters, super shooters, and oarsmen (the fountain jets), and it would be nearly impossible for Steve to search out another design firm, with the pedigree that WET could provide.

Instead, I have been in favor of another Lake of Dreams-esque feature. Keep the the wild projected effects, but make them completely holographic, and tuned to music thats, a little "different", in addition to finding a company, that could create a small fountain feature, to add to the show. However, when I think of fountains, I can only think of people saying, "Wow, so this guy just copied that Bellagio place right down the street, hmm" Of course, if Wynn puts in a fountain feature, and Ruffin does come through with Montreux (which I'm getting more and more doubtful about), I guess we'll have Bellagio North, in a couple of years.

However, I am extrememly excited about the Golf Course Development, I've been waiting since Wynn acquired the property to see what he can do. I can't wait.

January 20, 2007 8:41 AM Posted by Christian

Did anyone else find it surprising the way they made Wynn out to be?

January 20, 2007 11:20 AM Posted by mike_ch

John said: "it would be nearly impossible for Steve to search out another design firm, with the pedigree that WET could provide."

Waltzing Waters has similar, somewhat smaller shows and Disney (another former WETdesigns customer with two of their projects at EPCOT Center) is currently asking their Imagineering department to come up with a similar kind of show for their Los Angeles resort, so I can't imagine it's impossible.

Even if the show isn't as massive as the Bellagio show, I can't imagine it needs to be. Ideally, if they were to do dancing waters again it would be only one component of an all-new show idea.

January 20, 2007 12:33 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Great article by McKee in today's Business PRESS. Covers the field pretty good, "trashed" the living crap out of Wynn + exposes Steve for the thug he is! Gotta love it. This guy [McKee] is apparently the only local journalist of a major publication that seems to have the balls to step up to the plate + report the real truth regarding Steve's penchant for wasting "Wall Street's" money (what's a half billion dollars down the drain anyway? - small potatoes), Wynn's continued obsession for filing frivolous lawsuits + malicious litigation, at the expense of the shareholder's, against EVERYONE that Steve doesn't particularly favor, his potential illegal federal labor violations resulting in reduced employee morale + a possible suspension of their gaming license, but most importantly with the exception of John L. Smith, the RJ's reluctance + total lack of journalistic integrity by not ever printing any articles that may have a negative impact on anything Wynn. Kudos to David McKee, I just hope they have some pretty darn competent attorneys over there at the Businesss PRESS. LOL
BTW - With the exception of (HET), here are the most recent analysts' ratings for the major gaming sector:

(MGM): "equal weight"
(LVS): "equal weight"

January 20, 2007 4:13 PM Posted by John

I might be mistaken, but I believe the LV Business Press is a sister publication to the Review Journal, Leonard do you know? Again, I'm not quite sure.

January 20, 2007 6:53 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

John, I do not believe that the "Business PRESS", which is a separate + independent publication, has any direct connection with the RJ, you most likely are referring to the recent acquisition of the Las Vegas Sun, which has been a Greenspun family publication asset for decades, whereby they recently mergred with the Las Vegas Review Journal. I believe that you are confusing it with their [the Las Vegas Sun's] "In Business Las Vegas", a weekly feature regularly published in the Sun, that has no connection with the Business PRESS.

January 20, 2007 9:48 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Leonard, you sure do love to trash Wynn. I've enjoyed you're Wynn bashing. Keep up the great work. The harder you work, the higher Wynn stock goes. I think you said when it was at 60's the company was in major trouble. Then it worked itself all the way up to $107. I love it.

January 20, 2007 10:23 PM Posted by John

Leonard, no, I'm completely aware of the difference between the LV Business Press and In Business Las Vegas. However, I think I remember seeing, and again, I'm not sure, that the Business Press was a sister publication of the R-J, when they reported the first complaint against Steve.

However, I wasn't aware of the Las Vegas Sun acquisition. That brings up a lot of questions, because I really love Jeff Simpson's weekly columns as well as John Kasillometes' (sp) "man about town" column, which I already know won't be printed much longer, due to the success of Norm Clarke and his column. However, Simpson usually makes some great finds and I really enjoy reading his work every sunday.

January 20, 2007 10:27 PM Posted by Hunter

Is the RJ/Sun deal really an acquisition?

I was under the impression the deal was that the RJ distributes the Sun and that the Sun is now basically a couple of sections in the RJ but that the Sun's editorial staff was separate and would remain that way... Is this the case? Is there more to it?

January 21, 2007 2:42 AM Posted by mike_ch

McKee's column is at, a site owned by Stephens Media Group which owns the R-J. However they don't own the LVBP.

Hunter is correct on the Sun/RJ thing. Greenspun and whats his name, Brian Greenspun (Sun owners) and Sherman Frederick (RJ owner) still write columns in their little corners of their opinion sections sniping at each other for attending various parties and funding political initiatives. If it wasn't for their colorful choice of terms while writing diss columns on each other, nobody would give a hoot.

But they don't really collaborate in any way. The other week by total accident they both decided to print a virtually identical letter from a reader in their letters column. They can also say whatever they want to, as mentioned in that one Greenspun column were he declared on his section's front page that Frederick likes to wear women's clothing for pleasure, just to prove it would be printed.

If they absorbed each other, you'd KNOW it. The editorials in the Sun about how all federal taxes ought to be abolished would give it away. ;)

January 21, 2007 1:19 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hey Brian: Regarding your comment in connection with my "Wynn-bashing" + the recent run-up in WYNN shares, maybe you should be paying a bit more attention to what Wall Street has been saying lately concerning the 'current' stock price: "OVERVALUED" + "OVERWEIGHT". Then again, only time will tell how the company will ultimately perform, or exactly how long it will take Steve this time to tank yet another major gaming enterprise with his renowned management skills, after the REAL competition in both L.V. + Macau finally starts to heat up...we will just have to wait + see what pressure that his, more seasoned, better developed competitor's projects will bear upon the stock price, once these joints open for business. May the best businessman win (I can assure you with reasonable certainty that it will NOT be Steve)!

January 21, 2007 2:07 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Brian: Since you appear to be quite a "numbers" man, why don't you digest these up-to-date analyst's "figures" for LVS, MGM + WYNN:
Current Performance Ratings - Report Date: 2-19-07

Current P/E Ratio = 84.95!
Analyst Company Sentiment: POSITIVE!
Analyst Consensus: Hold

Current P/E Ratio: 35.97
Analyst Company Sentiment: POSITIVE!
Analyst Consensus: BUY!

and finally, drum-roll please...
Current P/E Ratio: 17.26 (oops!)
Analyst Company Sentiment: NEGATIVE (oops again!)
Analyst Consensus: HOLD

January 21, 2007 6:16 PM Posted by mike_ch

Leonard, can I ask you a question? I'm not challenging you, but I'm just interested in hearing what you have to say:

Your favorite operator is MGM-MIRAGE, correct? That seems about right from your comments here. From the numbers they've released, however, the Mirage component of the MGG-MIR-MRG trio has performed quite well for the company. Bellagio makes the highest earning before deductions in the company, and Mirage is #3 and it's so old at this point that it's well paid for already. Two, of only three former Wynn properties, are in the top three of TEN hotels.

It seems to me that if Wynn-built hotels were as awful, boring and bad as you've made them out to be, that they would have been an absolute waste of time for MGM Grand but so far they seem to be a good investment.

So what do you have to say about that? And furthermore, what would you have to say if I suggested that these positive forecasts could imply that people actually like the Wynn-built hotels? I'm not including WLV in that because it hasn't proven itself sustainable. It seems that as far as the Mirage-era hotels go, as much as you protest the general public seems to like them and Wynn had a fairly good idea of what it is the market wanted.

Do you disagree and why?

January 21, 2007 7:16 PM Posted by Mike P.

It's good to see that Wynn's most loyal fan is keeping the faith, but does anyone besides Brian think the Wynn golf course redevelopment is going to start in this decade? I'll believe it when I see the bulldozers.

And since Leonard hasn't said it yet in this thread, I will. Wynn is going to have to find more and better architects and designers for a project of this scale. Garish clones of his previous work and second rate Bellagio fountain imitations aren't going to cut it.

Mike P.

January 21, 2007 9:02 PM Posted by John

I think Leonard has more than made it clear, that he thinks Wynn should hire CityCenter level architects, even though Steve's "huge ego" gets in the way ;-) However, I do have to agree, Steve has to come up with something that will blow us away, for the golf course development. Also, I'd like to see Wynn sit on his hands, with the golf course. Honestly, five years between Encore's opening date and the Golf Course property's unveiling should be about sufficient. I base that off of the time elapsed between TI's opening and that of Bellagio.

January 22, 2007 4:39 AM Posted by Brian Fey


I am really confused now.... You do realize the lower the P/E the better....right? And your loved LVS with a P/E at 85 is off the charts!

January 22, 2007 12:17 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Mike P: Wynn will NEVER retain the likes of world-class architects represented in the lineup of talent assembled in the CityCenter projcet, unless they are given totaly CREATIVE autonomy. Since Steve believes himself to possess some sort of, albeit self-proclaimed gift, to the hospitality design industry, it is highly unlikely that future Wynn developments will be able to compete one-on-one, strictly based on a design POV, with the continued evolution of progressive design that Las Vegas is about to experience, including but not limited to, proposed development of the WLV golf course + future Macau properties.

mike_ch: Since the MGM buyout of Mirage Resorts, the existing properties were struggling financially under Wynn's watch, clearly it was MGM that made those venues highly profitable in short order, particularly Bellagio. There have been quite a few critical comments here inferring that Treasure Island, as it existed under Wynn's management, was a wonderful property which was somehow "ruined" as a result of MGM's 'transformation' to the T.I. Well, the numbers speak for themselves, Treasure Island had dismal performance at best. Currently, the [new] T.I. is home to two of the Strip's most successful venues, Tangerine + Social House, which are both now attracting a whole new economic demographic to the place, i.e. top celebrities + those of means who spend tons of dough translating into profits! The goofy Disney-esque Treasure Island theme of Steve's bombed big-time. BTW - The "real" reason that Kerkorian wanted Mirage Resorts has now become crystal clear + was part of his grand plan from day one, that would be the acquisition of MAJOR center strip property, like those 66 acres which CityCenter is being built on! Kerkorian got that property for a song + Steve has to be kicking himself now since WLV + the golf course will NEVER command such an invaluable location on the Strip as C.C. Location, location, location. Also, look for that p.o.s. eyesore Monte Carlo to bite the dust once CityCenter is completed. Keep your eye on MGM since it is not a matter of IF Kerkorian will take the company private, but just a matter of WHEN. My money's on MGM/MIRAGE.

Brian: You do not happen to be exactly 100% correct. The greater the Price/Earnings Ratio calculated for a particular company, based on [its] past 12 month Earnings Per Share (EPS), generally reflects the higher 'sustainable growth rate' in terms of that company's expected, positive future performance. As far as the current outlook for WYNN is concerned, everything now rests on the results of the Wynn Macau Q4 EBITDA which needs to report "really positve" performance figures in order to bring the company into the black + finally become profitable as a viable going concern for the first time since its inception.

January 22, 2007 4:00 PM Posted by mike_ch

Leonard, did Kerkorian & Friends do something at Bellagio that I didn't notice? It seems that aside from the Spa Tower and Light they just sort of let the place drift along aimlessly for a few years and only within the past year have really been stepping up their game with better service (although I suspect Mandalay Bay was cannibalized for it, since service there has taken a severe dip IMO), new and very impressive displays at the conservatory, and finally the casino renovation that give me the impression they finally started to care about the place again.

As for your talk about Treasure Island then and now, celebrities have money but they're a small segment of the population. They won't sell out a 3000 room resort through the year by themselves.

January 22, 2007 4:03 PM Posted by mike_ch

Also, I guess I should pull out the crystal ball and say that while Leonard is correct that TI has paid for itself and then some, one cannot accurately guess how much profit would have been made if Treasure Island maintained it's old appearance and cashed in on the revived pop-culture status of pirates thanks to Johnny Depp and Disney. It certainly would have cost less to not make changes.

January 22, 2007 5:22 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Mike: Besides the addition of Marnell's Spa Tower, + the Light nightclub (old news!), as you cite, Bellagio has continued to be consistently profitable ever since Kerkorian literally "swallowed up" Steve's most "prized" possession (that being Bellagio plus everything else, LOL), this property has continued to report increased positive income results, year after year, ever since MGM took over Wynn's FAILED public gaming company! Bellagio is now, actually, considered to be an "older" property + MGM are continuing to upgrade the original tower room interiors + public spaces accordingly. Despite its age, the Bellagio continues to EXCEED WLV's earnings numbers on a 'per square foot' basis in just about every sector when including the combined total annual room count/occupancy rate. Bellagio only became profitable AFTER the MGM merger. Mike, you seriously need to take a look at T.I.'s return to profit under MGM, as opposed to its dismal earnings, actually LOSS, under Steve's tenure. I must disagree with you regarding your comment in connection with Mandalay Bay, but then I have been a member of the Foundation Room ever since its opening + don't normally need to deal with the typical B.S. that many tourists, even locals, are forced to contend with when I choose to go there, so I cannot confirm nor deny that Mandalay Bay has actually "suffered" in terms of service quality, property-wide, under MGM's management, which has now been something like six years or so + MGM are currently reporting unusually high profits the past year for the Mandalay Bay resort in totality...maybe AFTER Encore is completed, based only on the additional room count + expanded gaming venue, will WLV have a reasonable chance to become competitive with Bellagio, Oh, but wait, I forgot, then there will be Palazzo to contend with right across the street, thus making Adelson's joint the largest hotel on the entire planet with a 7,200+ total room count, by default!

January 22, 2007 6:37 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Mike, are YOU actually "caving" on the reported earnings results for the former Treasure Island + the fact that the first time the property ever resulted in profitability was post MGM? Please, tell me it aint so? GMAB, are you SERIOUSLY SUGGESTING that a recent, popular motion picture; i.e. "Pirates of the Caribbean" with Johnny Depp as the lead, would have caused the "original" Treasure Island, as-built theme, to actually be able to "cash in" long-term as a result of that FAILED concept of Wynn's dating back to the early 1990's today? With all due respect, Mike, this might be an opportune time for you to permanently dump that crack pipe of yours! :-) This is absolutely the dumbest explanation/excuse/defense that I have ever heard in my entire life. C'mon, you can do better than this.

January 22, 2007 9:11 PM Posted by mike_ch

Leonard, have you been to the TI gift shops lately? Take a look in Siren's Cove the next time you're there, please. Look at the merchandise you see.

Since you probably won't be there anytime soon, I'll spoil it for you: T-shirts, boxers, glasses, etc with the old marquee skull logo and new "ti" embroidered on the tag. A new shirt with a skeleton-pirate (like the enemies from the first Depp movie) holding a hand of cards and the caption "Read 'em and weep!" and even beach towels with the old marquee skull logo and a pirate ship battle featuring a captain who looks unusually like Depp's character from the movie.

MGM is not unwise to current popular trends. While the damage to the hotel has been done and there's no way they could save face and embrace a pirate theme completely, what does this new marketing say for the property except "oops, our bad?"

January 22, 2007 9:24 PM Posted by mike_ch

re: Bellagio. Leonard, you don't seem to understand my point. YES: MGM-Mirage is running Bellagio with more profitable returns than Mirage Resorts did. YES: They've managed to run it in a way to success and YES: Wynn did not.


They've done so without any dramatic downsizing or restructuring of the property. Bellagio does not really have any more customers than it did under the Wynn period. Yes, it now has more customers staying on site because of the spa tower, but during the Wynn period it had more visitors staying off-site because it was unanimously considered to be the most spectacular thing in Las Vegas IN IT'S TIME. Now there's a whole new line of resorts fighting for that title and the visitors are spread around more, and so the additional on-site guests merely compensate. There aren't really any more customers than there used to be.

So then, I'm speculating that the fact that Bellagio is able to make good amounts of money without MGM having to drastically restructure the hotel from it's Wynn days, implies that the public actually approves of Wynn's design for that hotel. In other words, he built a nice place and ran it horribly, and with MGM's more sensible business practices it's succeeding on a level it wasn't before.

Am I wrong there?

January 22, 2007 10:18 PM Posted by Hunter

It sounds like we're looking at:

1. Steve Wynn's design for Bellagio is nothing special and customers don't really think it's that great.


2. Steve Wynn's Bellagio is a hit with customers but he couldn't make money because he overspent on everything and didn't run it efficiently. MGM MIRAGE has been able to cut costs and make the place run more efficiently while maintaining operation excellence.

January 23, 2007 11:32 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter, The truth surrounding the Bellagio is that it actually comprises a little bit of both of your assessments; 1 + 2. When it was built, the Bellagio, compared to WLV, was a better thought out overall design concept/execution that indeed set a new benchmark, at the time. WLV, in its current stage of development, lacks the originality + design sophistication of Bellagio (when built) that it [WLV] absolutely needs to now become competitive in TODAY'S higher end gaming market. In other words, Wynn actually took a giant step backward in the design execution of WLV + now he is stuck with a really medicore building(s), + graced it with a repetitive site devlopment theme giving that property no particular significance when compared to the Bellagio, upon its opening. Wynn could have made Bellagio extremely profitable from day one had he not overspent in excess in the construction of that property. Wynn simply does not listen to his "own" experts, citing instead his so-called attempt to achieve "perfection" at any cost as an excuse. After all, it is a business, + Steve just isn't a very good businessman at the end of the day. In fact the only significant design feature of WLV is the curvilinear form factor of the tower, WITHOUT that hideous "swooping" fascia. Had the exterior treatment/window wall been handled differently, it could have possibly turned out to have been a decent tower, instead of an eyesore, with out-dated reflective glazing that architects haven't specified since the 1980's.

January 23, 2007 11:42 AM Posted by mike_ch

Ah, thank you, that's essentially what I'm trying to ask, 1 or 2.

I know a lot of people have said MGM cheaped out the place, but I'm one of the few that disagree. Although I do think there was a 6-12 month period where they let the place sit and age less gracefully by not keeping on the ball. Perhaps that was necessary to manage cost or something.

All I do know is that previously people were talking about how it would be a decade or more before Bellagio earned it's first nickel because of how much they were spending to build and run. Now it sounds like it's a pretty good earner.

January 23, 2007 12:07 PM Posted by mike_ch

Believe it or not, I actually agree with basically everything Leonard wrote up there. The only place I feel Wynn is superior to Da B (keeping in mind that while I don't live the high-roller life, I do try and peek through the fences and see what it's like) is the idea of Tower Suites and the casino. And frankly, if Kirk & Co wanted to do that with Bellagio, they could. I wouldn't be suprised if they actually gave it a try once CityCenter is high enough off the ground, or maybe they're waiting to do it at CityCenter instead. If they consider Skylofts to be their answer to Tower Suites, though, then they're pretty sadly mistaken because those are nice but a bit too much of a reach and in a resort that I don't believe is as pleasant, but I don't think they're quite that daft.

All other comparisons are simply personal: The casino, I just don't get utterly robbed by the slots at Wynn like I do at Bellagio. *shrug* They seem to actually have an idea of gradual payback there, whereas at Bellagio it's historically been that I sometimes get the opportunity to win my original bets back but often they just swallow my cash with nary a cherry or mixed BAR and then ask for more.

At opening I would have said service was a bit better at WLV but then they've recently begun looking down their nose at me, too.

January 24, 2007 1:50 PM Posted by Andy S

I think it should be interesting what Wynn comes up with for the golf course, but he probably should make Wynn and Encore profitable first!

Correct me if I'm wrong but b4 MGM bought Mirage Resorts all they had was the MGM Grand mess, which is not great. Therefore most of their revenue before they bought Mandalay must have come from Mirage resorts.

IMHO Treasure Island was a far sperior resort to 'TI', which is bland by comparision. MGM made horrendous architectural decisions there like Sirens Cove and now there is no continuity with some horrible modern architecture, a problem with all their hotels.

CC reminds me a city financial district, there is alot of stuff there and some of the buildings are ugly. Its going to be big, but its going to take more than famous architects to make it popular.

January 24, 2007 1:58 PM Posted by Hunter

At that point they had:

MGM Grand
New York New York (they had already purchased the other 50% from Primmadonna)
the stuff in Primm
MGM Grand Darwin (Australia)

Anything else? I can't recall beyond that.

January 24, 2007 3:03 PM Posted by detroit1051

Hunter, don't forget MGM Grand Detroit. It opened its temporary casino in July, 1999 (appropriately in the old IRS Processing Center). The permanent MGM Grand, which includes a 400 room hotel, will open late this year at a cost of $750 Million. 2006 adjusted revenues (net win) were $490 Million. Detroit has been very helpful to MGM.
Detroit is limited to three commercial casinos. Steve Wynn made a proposal as MIR, but he was turned down. The three are MotorCity Casino which was Mandalay Resort Group when it won, The Chippewa tribe with Greektown and MGM Grand.
When MGM bought MBG, they were forced to divest MotorCity because the same owner can't operate more than one casino in Detroit. Marian Ilitch bought it. Her husband, Mike, owns the Tigers and Redwings, so he had to keep out of ownership. Together, they own Little Caesars Pizza.
MGM Grand is always #1, followed by MotorCity. Grektown has problems and brings up the rear.

January 24, 2007 3:54 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Andy S: I really am not able to devote the time right now in order to attempt + try to educate you on what appears to be the result of totally misinformed information on your part, both in connection with MGM's [transformation] of the original Treasure Island property to the current T.I. business model. The annual MGM earnings reports speak volumes as far as reviving that crappy, poorly executed [Wynn] property is concerned. One could not expect any better performance numbers then MGM have been able to "squeeze" out of that dump since taking over the property almost seven years ago, other than to completely demolish it! As far as your "subjective" comments regarding project CityCenter are concerned, i.e. "some of the buildings considered by yourself to be UGLY", either you have absolutely no understanding whatsoever of what you are talking about, or clearly lack any semblance of architectural knowledge in order to be able to truly appreciate, what is currently the world's most renowned design talent that, for the first in history, have been collectively assembled to participate in what is also the most ambitious (real) project EVER built in the U.S. Or, maybe, you simply are just blowing smoke. I'll tell you what, let's all just wait until the end of 2009 + then I would really be interested in hearing what your "personal" opinion of this ground-breaking project is after having experienced it firsthand, once it becomes reality! BTW - the "MGM GRAND mess" you refer to resulted in a huge profit stream by immediately reporting better that expected positive earnings from the very day that they opened their doors for business in what was, at the time, the largest hotel in the entire world with 5,005 rooms - next time check out you facts!

January 24, 2007 9:54 PM Posted by John

I know, that not everyone can agree about the City Center buidlings, but is there anyone here who doesn't think that the VEER towers are probably the ugliest and most out of plant buildings on the property? I mean, yes the leaning towers are sort of interesting, but they are sort of garrish, with that stand out yellow, and I mean, honestly, why would you place them right in front of the "centerpiece" of the development, honestly, they take so much away from Pelli's resort tower, thatit sort of hurts the development.

January 25, 2007 10:31 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

John, the VEER Towers are somewhat of a departure for Helmut Jahn, not that his most renowned earlier designs of the 1980's + 1990's were ever considered "conventional" by any stretch of the imagination. It will come down to a matter of how "transparent" the exterior window wall treatment of the two towers read, particularly during the day. Jahn is a an accomplished master at incorporating + melding together multiple glazing surface finishes/exterior facade materials, more than any architect I have ever worked with. I am not a fan, however, of the recent rash of "leaning" inclined tower configurations that we see being proposed so often, especially for projects in Dubai. One of the biggest inherent issues with CityCenter is the restrictive density of the entire site by grouping so many high rises in such a limited land area. CityCenter certainly would have benefited from an an additional 20 acres or so, based on the current maserplan (I don't know why they didn't just implode that hideous Monte Carlo at the very beginning to integrate the valuable land that monstrosity sits on). IMO, however, the most attractive tower of them all, based entirely on the exterior window wall treatment, form factor + overall "sleekness", will not actually be Pelli's centerpiece tower, but the VDARA Condo Hotel by RV Architecture. That is going to be one attractive tower due to the simplicity + "fluidity" of its flowing design.

January 28, 2007 11:07 AM Posted by Devon

In my opinion, VDARA (by the way these names BLOW) is the least attractive building of the group. I'm not a huge fan of the 3-layer design and I think it's a mistake to separate the condo/hotel from the other property by the road.

On another note: Leonard and everybody, I'd be curious as to your take on wynn's design for the golf course? He's already noted that it won't be high-density like city center, which to me is the right idea. Do you actaully think that the guest appeal of a dense complex like PCC can be more than that of the wynn lake complex?

January 28, 2007 5:53 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Devon: There exists, at this particular point in time, NO definitive official design development masterplan scheme whatsoever (proposed or otherwise) for the future of Wynn's existing + recently renovated D.I. golf course property which cost an astronomical one-half billion dollars to redevelop! Steve is now faced with no other choice but to wait until CityCenter, and to a lesser degree, the Echelon Resort are finally completed (this decision, which was just officially announced by Steve, has been received as a breath of fresh air by many of WYNN's major shareholders who questioned his recent judgement decisions. BTW - MJ is definitily going to be signed by Wynn!! (this is whole other story that deserves its own forum - trust me). As far as any delay in the imminent redevelopment, by Wynn Resorts, of their vast golf course property to mixed-use or other, NOTHING will occur until at least towards end of the current decade! Based striclty on the proposed/under construction Strip mega-projects' over 'saturation' (excluding HET's mega-Strip plans which will most likely not become an immediate reality due to the impending privatization offers), on a 'per acre basis' when considering Ruffin's hideous proposed Montreux across the street + the fact that Turnberry's Fountainebleau now looks to be a definite "go" absent the obvious publicity, Wynn will eventually be forced with no other choice but to develop a significantly "scaled down" version of anything that even approaches the likes of CityCenter/Echelon. Wynn knowns that, regardless of the fact that he purchased the entire D.I. property, golf course + subsequently the reamining homeowners properties for a song, that he does't stand a chance in hell of even competing anytime in the long-term future against CityCenter + Echelon. I still have not been able to report details on Boyd's highly secretive masterplan for the Echelon Resort, however, I am expecting lots of details soon from their architects, particularly in connection with the overall conceptual masterplan. Steve paid something like $1.6M per acre for the ENTIRE former D.I. acquisition + additional substantial overpayments to the remaining D.I. HOA for those ten home owners who held out, however, by the time Wynn Resorts finally enters this level of the market (even after Encore), post-CityCenter/ Echelon, they [WYNN] will be at a significant disadvantage simply because they will be in no position, nor have the ability to, build a comparable competing project within the 24-36 month fast-track time frame. I must emphasize that it will be CityCenter, not Echelon, that will result in WLV/Encore's reduction to a secondary property here in L.V. + Adelson/MGM will eventually finish Wynn Resorts off for good in Macau.

January 28, 2007 6:02 PM Posted by detroit1051

Devon, I'm not ready to disparage CityCenter, but it's clearly not going to be the community it was touted to be before construction started. I can't swear it was MGM that said it would be a totally integrated community where people would work, live and shop, all without need of a car. It's clearly going to be a hotel/casino/condo/hotel-condo place, albeit with some recognized architects.
Wynn's golf course, on the other hand, will probably be more LA Century City like with offices and residential. The 150+ acres will give it a chance to be more appealing than all the buildings crammed into 67 acres between Bellagio and Monte Carlo. Regardless of Leonard's pep talks about CityCenter, I'll bet Wynn's development is much more appealing.

January 28, 2007 6:12 PM Posted by detroit1051

I see Kerkorian is having a distress sale (lol):
Kerkorian Slashes Beverly Hills Price
January 26, 2007; Page W8
Unable to sell his Beverly Hills, Calif., estate for almost a year, billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian has cut $7 million, or 28%, off the price. He's now asking just under $18 million for the 30-acre property.
The gated estate includes a Mediterranean-style main house, two guest houses, two pools, two tennis courts and a putting green. Mr. Kerkorian, 89 years old, bought the estate in three parts, paying $5.7 million for the first part in 1990 and later adding the rest in separate transactions.
Listing agents Jade Mills and Vanessa Sandin of Coldwell Banker Beverly Hills declined to discuss the listing or the price cut, which came after the home had been on the market for close to a year.
The Los Angeles County home market has had mixed results in recent months. Sales volume there fell 12.9% in December compared to a year earlier, according to the real-estate research firm DataQuick. But the median selling price of a home rose 6.5% to $522,000.
Mr. Kerkorian's Tracinda Corp. investment firm recently sold its 9.9% stake in General Motors Corp. after failing to push the company into an alliance with Nissan and Renault.

January 28, 2007 6:27 PM Posted by John

Detrioit, I remember when CityCenter was touted as MGM's version of Walt Disney's EPCOT (i.e.- a metropolitan city, in which its inhabitants will live, work, and play, in an unparalled environment). However, we all should have know that, from the start, there was going to be no way that MGM could pull that off, for the simple reason that its shareholders wouldn't be willing to give up the profits that would come from a large mega resort on that land.

Also, I think with the land that Wynn has, he will be able to really build a "compound" of sorts, that vistitors will visit and, for their two to four day stays, will never have to leave. I don't think Wynn should develop the golf course, as soon as everyone wants him to, personally. Honestly, if the man sits on that property for another five to six years, he'll have the chance to build an amazing project, after the lure of CityCenter has worn off, but he'll probably start another building boom, the way he did with the Mirage, Bellagio, and WLV, itself.

January 28, 2007 10:12 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Detroit: You cannot be really serious in posting such a ridiculous comment! First of all, do you have any idea of how many Beverly Hills properties that Kerkorian [+Tracinda] has or currently owns, including the multi-million dollar estate he ended up surrendering to his ex-wife, Lisa Bonder, after their divorce + the multi-millon dollar (as in $10M) Beverly Hills manse he also purchased for Bonder's parents, in addition to everything else, at the beginning of their relationship, which, incidently they evidently still occupy. If I correctly recall, Kerkorian's current property was originally listed in the $25M range according to the Multiple Listing Service, many months ago, so are you trying to conclude that he really gives a sh*t if the place ends up selling for even a fraction of what he even paid for it? GMAB - I assume that this is just in jest, Kerkorian is preparing to privatize the most profitable gaming company in U.S. history which includes the development/construction of the nation's largest private commercial development ever (i.e CityCenter!) Are you seriously trying to suggest that Kerkorian really gives a rat's ass for what [his] B.H. estate ends up selling for? Please, Detroit, tell me it aint so.

January 28, 2007 10:15 PM Posted by Hunter

I'm 100% certain that Detroit was kidding about the Kerkorian BH reduction on the listing. Clearly it's totally irrelevant to Kirk what it goes for or if the place burns to the ground without insurance coverage.

January 29, 2007 4:05 AM Posted by detroit1051

"I assume that this is just in jest"---Yes.
"Please, Detroit, tell me it aint so."---It ain't so. Leonard, I was just trying to rile you up a little.

January 29, 2007 1:35 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Detroit: What, I'm not getting "riled" enough for you anymore? Must be a slow news day :-) I'm actually beginning to run out of negative things to say about Steve, but have no fear of that ever becomming permanent, since he will be giving me plenty of new material to keep on trashing the looney real soon, based on the the current rumor mill which never seems to cease. The pending Jacko/WLV deal seems to be the most distressing of all. Honestly, many of the decisions this self-proclaimed genius has recently made, or is seriously proposing, draws into question his lack of proper judgement + ability to actually make sensible decisions. Honestly, I am not just venting my own personal disdain for the thug, err I mean guy, this is starting to become a potential issue of concern by quite a number of influential people closely connected with the industry - and no - I am not going to name names but you guys would really be surprised at how many 'anonymous' Wynn detractors there are out there right now after his out-of-control behavior, recently exhibited on a number of fronts, it is truly overwhelming. Hey, maybe Stevie should consider a stint in rehab to at least attempt to treat his apparent acute Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), everyone else seems to be doing it. LOL

January 29, 2007 3:12 PM Posted by detroit1051

Leonard, I hope Steve does not bring Jacko in, but the fact that Steve and Michael Jackson dined recently in a private room at Alex doesn't sound good. Since Jacko is popular in Asia, Steve may be thinking of having him perform in both Las Vegas and Macau. I would say Steve is getting old, but since he and I are the same age, I'd better not.

Regarding the golf course, I agree with John that it can wait until the next decade for development. There are too many projects in Las Vegas which need to be absorbed. I'm still waiting for some major high-rise condo project to file bancruptcy. Many of these condos have 10% deposits on prices higher than the current market can bear. How many buyers will walk away from their deposits? When I look at the great site I wonder how all these condos can succeed. I have no doubt that MGM, Turnberry and a few others will succeed, but all of them?
I have heard from locals that the Residences at MGM Grand aren't renting as often as the owners in the rental pool expected, but I have no proof of it.

January 29, 2007 6:45 PM Posted by detroit1051

Disabled tourists sue Wynn Resorts over accessibility
"...happens to be a professional ADA consultant"
Are they crusaders? Doesn't all new construction have to meet ADA requirements? How could Wynn get approval to operate if the poperty didn't meet code?

January 29, 2007 7:23 PM Posted by John

I'm sorry, but there has to be absolutely no way, that that casino isn't ADA compliant. These rules are fourteen years old, and had to be enforced, during the design and planning stages of the resort. I just cannot see how that could happen. The Picasso? Yes. The Tip Distribution? Yes. But this, it is just starting to get out of control.

January 30, 2007 10:48 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Detroit: I just was about to post the link to this article. Boy, it seems that Steve just can't seem to get a break! I knew he didn't want any of those "pesky" strollers anywhere on the property, but evidently he must have something against wheelchairs too! LOL John, unlike construction code inspections required at various stages of completion, enforcement of fire code regulatory compliance standards, etc. there is no federal ADA regulatory compliance inspection prior to a property being granted suitable for occupancy. The ADA compliance standards are the sole responsibility of the architect + it is quite possible that there exists many violations at WLV based on the sheer size of the place. This complainant evidently is connected with the ADA federal agency in some manner, so he most likely is clearly aware of any violations that may exist. What [they] normally do is issue a citation against the property allowing them a certain period of time to correct any + all violations. If they are not completed by the specified time, the property is then subject to extremely large fines + financial penalties, in the millions of dollars + face possible federal criminal prosecution against the owners, architects, etc. I know of several architects who were involved in really large residential tower developments whereby the government (USDOJ) successfully prosecuted them for felony violations in connection with the Americans with Disabilities Act! I was just thinking, when Steve ends up at "camp fed" for federal labor law + ADA violations, whether they will let him at least serve both sentences concurrently! LOL

January 30, 2007 12:18 PM Posted by detroit1051

If Wynn Las Vegas doesn't meet the ADA requirements, Steve needs to bring it in compliance. However, after looking at the website of William Norkunas:
and Peter Spalluto:
I believe they have their own motives. I'll hammer Steve when it's deserved, but I'm suspicious about this suit.

January 30, 2007 12:59 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

The ADA codes are typically excessive + quite complex. They don't simply deal with handicap toilet stalls and wider door jambs for easier accessibility, but actually specify the width + grade of access ramps, etc. Most inexperienced architects hire an outside expert consultant in this field for really large projects. Since Wynn's chosen method in dealing with design issues are essentially in-house through WD+D, and when considering the fact that these projcets are always fast-tracked, combined with Steve's impulsive, at-will, consistent modifications + changes throughout each stage of the project's construction, it is very likely that there are serious violations within the resort that do not meet ADA code. Whatever the agenda might be for these two gentlemen, it still comes down to whether or not the property is in compliance by meeting or exceeding these standards. This could potentially develop into an incredibly expensive fix for Wynn Resorts if indeed these violations exist resort-wide. IMO, as I have expressed before, WLV overall is a very poorly planned/executed property when considering the fact it is essentially brand new. That's why competing operators with a superior business sense don't take the DIY approach in designing projects the scale of WLV as Steve traditionally does. That would be like representing yourself by electing to be your own defense attorney in a murder trial!

May 2, 2007 5:05 PM Posted by detroit1051

Leonard, it's not only Wynn who has had ADA challenges:

May 3, 2007 1:33 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

detroit: Yeah, I knew about MGM/MIRAGE's ADA violations for quite some time now. Including Mandalay (the most comprehensive), the total collective cost for [them] to bring these specific resorts up to current ADA code is expected to be in the neighborhood of $20M. Wynn Resorts' (WLV specifically) violations, on the other hand, from what I have been told + based on the lawsuit(s) filed against the company are far more egregious + are apparently a property-wide issue. According to the complaint, WLV has ignored just about every ADA code, in one way or another, in order to save on costs including, not only the main public-access areas, but in the tower rooms + suites, etc. It's almost a sure bet that Stevie will end up paying at least two to three times what MGM/MIRAGE got hit up for, that's if he's lucky, in order to bring WLV up to ADA current code requirements. BTW - This information comes to me from an extremely reliable source who is intimately connected to this federal complaint. Hell, what's another $40-$60M wasted on ADA compliance when compared to what Wynn has alreday spent on redoing, demolishing + rebuilding just about one third of the gross area interior 'as-built' original interior venues at the property withing the first eighteen months of operation anyways? I suppose one can justify these ridiculous out-of-control expenses + unwarranted spending as just part of Steve's primary goal, according to him, in attempting to achieve total "perfection" + the most "delicious" guest experience ever. I love Wynn's use of adjectives like that when describing his brand, or any of his projects, it's truly creative to say the least, however, it is all just total bullshit!

May 3, 2007 3:11 PM Posted by Mike E

Can someone cite a specific example? After thinking long and hard, the only area that I know of at Wynn that is unaccessible by wheelchair is the main dining room at Alex. But then again, I've never eaten there and for all I know there is indeed an elevator. Other than that, I can't think of a single public space that is not wheelchair accessible. Or is there more to the ADA codes than that?

May 3, 2007 4:04 PM Posted by detroit1051

Mike E, yes, Alex does have an elevator.

May 3, 2007 6:21 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Mike E: I personally never claimed, nor certainly am not a legal "expert" regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 + subsequent amendments since then. However, WLV is facing serious violations, read: PROPERTY WIDE of the ADA regulatory codes which was initially reported in the Business PRESS a few months ago + has now progressed into several, numerous, official federal compalints against Wynn Resorts, Ltd. which are under "investigation" by the appropriate federal authorities because the impetus of this whole issue was actually initiated by an ADA consultant who toured WLV recording each + every one of the multiple + flagrant code violations. I cannot confirm that Alex was part of their report. I would really prefer to not comment beyond that, at this juncture, trust me, access to the main dining room at Alex (+ the fact that it has an elevator) is the LEAST of Wynn's problems in connection with ADA violations @ WLV. I can't wait until the feds hopefully slap Steve with tens of millions of dollars in ADA code violations for failure to comply! Sit back + wait for the fun to begin...Steve is currently being challenged by opposition from all directions. For the betterment of the gaming industry, this blind f*ck needs to retire before he bites the dust for a second time + final time!

May 4, 2007 11:22 AM Posted by mike_ch

The only places I can think of regarding ADA and Wynn are the stairs near Tryst (which proably have an elevator I haven't bothered to find), the steps going up into Zoozacrackers (which are small but would be an obstacle in a wheelchair) and a a set of stairs between the pool and buffet level which I think have an elevator nearby.

At the end of the day though, operators are asked by the law to be accessible when possible, by their own judgments. Anybody who has visited knows Bill's Gamblin' Hall & Saloon has some issues. The ramp alongside their steps into the casino is too steep and so they have signs on the wall telling you they aren't ADA-compliant ramps.

May 4, 2007 11:23 AM Posted by mike_ch

Whoa, I really goofed it there! I meant to say that anyone who has visited Bill's knows that the hotel has issues.

But I suppose anyone who has visited Bill's post-changeover, well, maybe has issues, too. ;)

May 4, 2007 11:42 AM Posted by Mike E

Mike, with an exception to Zooza, all those other examples you mentioned have elevator access as well.

May 4, 2007 5:00 PM Posted by detroit1051

I believe there is a ramp to access Zoozacrackers and the connected sportsbook.

Leonard wrote, "For the betterment of the gaming industry, this blind f*ck needs to retire before he bites the dust for a second time + final time!"
Leonard, once again, your bitterness is getting the better of you. Give it a rest.

July 21, 2007 9:08 PM Posted by MIke

I know a friend who was personaly battered while atempting to view some of the obvious ADA violations inside th Wynn Las Vegas, and when he filed a Police report, the Police found that the Hotel employees did nothing wrong, even though the whole incident was caught on tape.
Isn't it a surprise that the Police would come to a conclusion like that , when the Head of Security at the Wynn is the Ex- Sherrif of Metro Police, Jerry Keller?
Well, we will see how much influence he has when The Feds Get involved.

July 23, 2007 1:06 PM Posted by marlymarr

Mike: Could you be more specific about your comment, are you saying that the employees attacked your friend?

August 12, 2007 8:11 PM Posted by Mike

Marlymarr: I spoke to my friend and he was reluctant to talk about the incident due to pending litigation, but I can answer your question,YES, the individuals who attacked him were employees of The Wynn Las Vegas.