Wynn Las Vegas: a flagship destination resort
In April 2005 entrepreneur Steve Wynn opened a new $2.7 billion, 2,716-room casino-hotel called Wynn Las Vegas. It is located on the Las Vegas Strip, a concentrated entertainment area of the city, five blocks wide and four and a halfmiles long. The Strip is comprised of numerous themed ‘megaresorts’, huge hotels with multi-programmes that include casinos, theatres, restaurants, shopping malls, conference centres, and changing attractions (see Figure 10.1). Wynn, hailed by Time magazine as ‘the gaming industry’s most brilliant designer’ (Stein 2006) was credited not only with introducing art, retail, and fine dining onto the Strip, but also
with setting the trend for themed hotels with the opening of the Mirage in 1989. He is also acknowledged as the developer responsible for moving the Strip upscale with the Bellagio in 1998, the first resort to offer luxury on an international scale. Having been forced to sell his company, Mirage Properties, to Kirk Kerkorian/ MGM Grand in a hostile takeover bid in 2000, Wynn’s new hotel-casino marked his official return to the business of property development on the Strip. Wynn was a powerful member of a local growth coalition that espoused a pro-growth and pro-development ideology and his latest project was promoted as a new paradigm for luxury destinations that would revolutionize the Strip. The journal Gaming Wire (Stutz 2005) declared that ‘Steve Wynn’s openings are always a catalyst for something else’ and prophesied that Wynn Las Vegas would initiate the next building boom. The emergence of numerous construction projects including plans for high-rise hotels and condo mixed-use developments, collectively referred to as ‘the Manhattanization of Las Vegas’, appeared to confirm this prediction.