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Wynn Risks Losing Casino Expansion Efforts in Las Vegas

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Wynn Resorts' ambitious plans to construct a 1,110-room hotel tower on a vacant 38-acre property adjacent to its Wynn and Encore Las Vegas casinos are hanging by a thread. Clark County officials have recommended denial of the company's request for a five-year extension on its previously approved plans.

Wynn on Tenuous Ground

The recommendation, which stems from concerns about Wynn's lack of progress on the project since purchasing the land in 2017, casts a shadow of uncertainty over the future of this development, which could have reshaped the Las Vegas Strip skyline. The initial plan approval for the project dates back to 2015, yet eight years have passed without any tangible progress. No building permits have been submitted for review, and a clear timeline for completion remains elusive.

Related: Wynn Resorts Q3 Revenue Soars by 87.9%

Wynn has attributed the delays to the COVID-19 pandemic, claiming that the outbreak disrupted its construction schedule and forced it to prioritize other projects. However, Clark County officials have expressed skepticism about these claims, citing the absence of concrete evidence to support them and noting that other projects have faced similar setbacks without relying on such justifications.

Wynn's proposal now faces a critical juncture, with the county zoning commission slated to consider the extension request in April. The company faces a delicate situation, as a denial could signal the end of the third tower project.

Wynn's options include appealing the decision, selling the property, or significantly revising the project plans to align with current regulations and address the county's concerns. However, success will hinge on convincing Clark County of the company's genuine commitment to the project and its ability to deliver on its promises within a reasonable timeframe.

Not without Precedent

This recommendation reflects the county's cautious approach to unrealized projects, particularly in light of the history of such developments on the Las Vegas Strip. The Fontainebleau Las Vegas hotel and casino, for instance, faced financial turmoil ahead of the 2008 recession, leading to bankruptcy and a protracted halt in construction. The project eventually resumed, but not before languishing for over a decade.

Similarly, the All Net Arena, envisioned as a non-gaming hotel and basketball arena on the North Strip, never materialized despite groundbreaking in 2015. Clark County revoked its permits in November 2023, effectively terminating the project.

While Wynn may have more name recognition and stability than those two, its inability to move forward with the project is beginning to raise doubts about its financial strength.

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