Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

Fascinating article today in the Sun about the fast-paced world of design and construction on the Las Vegas Strip.

Cost overruns and safety issues at projects like Fontainebleau and City Center have highlighted the massively iterative nature of the design process, sometimes at the cost of millions.


Read archived comments (9 so far)
June 28, 2009 10:44 PM Posted by Casino Junkie

It must be a real dilemma dealing with this. Working it through the courts is one thing, then when that is done and it's completed and opened, you then have to figure out how to actually make some money. Maybe it is all working out for the best time wise. Hopefully, when it opens, the economic situation improves. I guess City Center has to go first and show what it can do.

June 29, 2009 6:46 AM Posted by doc_al

One reason I was optimistic about this project was the presence of ex-Mandalay resort Group Leadership. Building quickly and reasonably efficiently is one thing they'd gotten pretty good at. But then, that's probably the result of building a good, experienced team, not something you can replicate by bringing in one executive. Still, I'd hoped having someone who'd seen it done well would have helped -- provided they listened to him, which may come out as not having been done.

June 29, 2009 12:19 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

I think this story is killing Schaeffers image. Combined with the artistisan path he is reported to walk, it makes him look like a dreamer without any sense of fiscal responsibility. Now I wonder if he deserved all the credit he got during the rise of Circus-Circus? Sad, very sad. I don't see Steve Wynn using him any after he takes control of the project.

June 29, 2009 8:27 PM Posted by mike_ch

I figured that "the executive" cited time and time again in the story probably was Schaeffer since he has little to lose by burning up bridges at the SNAFUblu.

I was always a tad skeptical of him since he's never built anything on his own. Even when he was Gold Strike Resorts or whatever he called 50% ownership of Monte Carlo he had Mike Ensign who was a pretty influential force.

June 30, 2009 11:43 AM Posted by David McKee

In Schaeffer's defense, it was on his watch that Mandalay Bay got built and opened, at a time when there was great doubt that it was in Circus Circus' DNA to build a successful luxury resort. Senior management's track record up to that point (Luxor, Excalibur) gave little reason for optimism.

June 30, 2009 4:36 PM Posted by Jeff in OKC

That's what I can't figure out, David. He was such a stud on the Mandalay Bay project, yet on Fbleau he has been all but invisible.

June 30, 2009 5:49 PM Posted by mike_ch

But again:

1) He was working with a very familiar group of people, even if some had retired after Mandalaly opened. Idea Guys need people they know, especially important is someone who can say "no." Schaeffer had a lot of Circus old guard hanging around him until the last few years of the company.

2) What with a whole piece of the hotel sinking into the ground until additional measures were taken, it's not exactly like Mandalay was spared the "whoops, should have thought about that before we started building" malarkey we see here.

July 1, 2009 11:24 AM Posted by David McKee

At the time, I heard through the grapevine that a minor had been sucked into the intake at the M'Bay wave pool and drowned, but it was never confirmed. So, yes, they had their share of construction mishaps over there. The old fogies at Circus Circus may have needed Schaeffer to drag the company into the post-Mirage era but maybe he needed the benefit of their experience, too. If people learn from their mistakes, Luxor must have been a veritable college education.

July 1, 2009 12:54 PM Posted by detroit1051

Glenn Schaeffer was praised in this Smart Money store which was written ten years ago.

I attended Mandalay's Annual Meeting which was held at MotorCity Casino in Detroit in June, 2000. I was impressed with Schaeffer and others who spent some time talking about the importance of online reservations and their strategy to capture reservations using the internet. Mandalay Resort Group seemed ahead of the curve at the time to me.

I have to assume Schaeffer also deserves credit for the way Circus/Mandalay Resort Group took care of the sinking Mandalay Bay. That incident could have been the end of the corporation. For Vegas geeks, the action Mandalay took to stop the sinking is described in this report: