Wednesday, July 29, 2020 / by Ken Couture
Although it won’t open until next summer, Resorts World Las Vegas is facing new challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3,500-room, $4.3 billion casino megaresort from Malaysian corporation Genting Berhad installed new safety protocols and managed to keep construction efforts on track for a planned 2021 arrival. Resorts World has also made a series of recent announcements pointing to the future of the property and the Strip.
“This pandemic is definitely challenging us even though we’re not open,” President Scott Sibella said. “Part of that was we didn’t want to make announcements when it’s all you’re hearing about in Las Vegas and throughout the country, but we’ve tried to pick and choose good times [because] we think these are big announcements and we want to give everyone a taste of what’s coming.”
In early June, Resorts World submitted plans for a proposed passenger station and tunnel that could connect to the Las Vegas Convention Center’s underground transportation system currently under construction by Elon Musk’s the Boring Company. Wynn Las Vegas, located directly across Las Vegas Boulevard from the 88-acre Resorts World site, submitted a similar plan at the same time.
Over the July 4 weekend, Resorts World unveiled the 100,000-square-foot LED screen installed on its Strip-facing West Tower with a spectacular light show demonstration. And on July 16, the property announced a partnership with AEG Presents to develop and operate the 5,000-capacity Theatre at Resorts World, a state-of-the-art concert and special event venue designed to host the next generation of superstar residencies on the Strip.
“If you look at what’s happening in our town with the convention center expansion, the Raiders’ stadium of course and then what we’re doing, I think this is the best thing for this city to get through this,” Sibella said. “You [have] these three big things coming up out of the ground and how big they are for [Las Vegas] and they’re really going to help us get back faster to where we want to be.”
The theater will stand out from other large-scale entertainment venues on the Strip, Sibella said, because of its convenient, central location on the property and the collaboration with AEG division Concerts West, which is heavily designed in its creation and technology.
Concerts West President and co-CEO John Meglen calls the new venue “a playground with all the latest tech bells and whistles” and said both companies are currently focused on creating an innovative, versatile destination and will work on developing and booking shows and artists later, when the return of live entertainment is imminent.
“Our people are so excited about this place and we love working with Scott and his team,” Meglen said. “He wants us to be integrated throughout everything else they do at the property and we appreciate that. It’s so cool to be involved from the beginning because we can focus on being creative, not worrying about who it is or what it is but more about what’s the best way to do it. And we’re building now so we have more time to make those decisions.”
It’s definitely dealing with different, complex challenges compared to the resorts currently operating on the Strip, but Resorts World also has some advantages when it comes to planning how it will handle the uncertain circumstances of the future. Sibella said the casino and hotel complex will continue to make health and safety the top priority.
“We can be proactive in how we do things and plan systems now to make sure our air quality is as clean as possible, for example, or how we clean the property and the ways we design that, and projecting things guests will want when we get beyond this,” he said. “But when it comes to changing our overall strategic plan and how we operate, that’s still in place and we’re hoping we’re way past this.
“In the case of the theater, you can’t build it for 5,000 people and then [plan to operate it] with only 2,000. It’s not built that way. We’re hoping to get through this by the time we open and we’re closely watching other properties and making adjustments where we can while we build.”
In addition to its two resort towers, 117,000-square-foot casino with a 17,000-square-foot entertainment zone and race and sports book, 350,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space, spa, pool complex and diverse restaurant and bar portfolio, Resorts World first announced the theater in November along with a 65,000-square-foot nightlife and daylife concept, additional luxury suites and villas and a 50-foot diameter video globe that will display various LED content.
“We are really excited and we feel like we have something special to bring to this city,” Sibella said. “There’s so much technology out there today and we are taking total advantage of it and the property is going to be beautiful, but we know how we treat our customers and how we create those experiences is going to make all the difference.”
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