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LAS VEGAS-The word on the famed Las Vegas strip is that resort icon Steve Wynn is going to pick up where he left off with his multi-million-dollar Bellagio “to create the next-generation resort,” GlobeSt.com has been told.

There’s no doubt in the minds of two Colliers International executives in Las Vegas that Wynn will score with the coup, armed with a current plan for a 45-story, 2,455-room high-rise positioned right in the three to five-mile strip’s epicenter. Colliers International’s Mike Mixer has brokered golf community land sales for Wynn for the past seven years. “Everything he touches is gold out here,” Mixer tells GlobeSt.com. “He has an incredible mind for the business.”

It’s no secret that Wynn has reinvested a goodly portion of his estimated $500-million reward from his part of a three-casino sale about 1-1/2 years ago into the as-yet unnamed megaresort. He paid $270 million for the Desert Inn holding in March 2000 after Sun International, headquartered in South Africa, backed out of its option. Wynn has taken on Tokyo-based Aruze Corp. as an equity partner and will fund the balance via loans, his private coffer and possibly a bond sale, other published reports say.

Some details have leaked out, but more are expected to come at October’s World Gaming Congress and Expo in Las Vegas where Wynn is a keynote speaker. Rumor has it that he will announce the name and the game that experts claim will be a $1.3-billion resort. Mixer and Colliers International’s George Connor, a senior vice president of hotel and leisure properties, are convinced that the 120,000-room strip can support another high-class venue. Connor says asking if another hotel is needed on the strip is like asking if another slot machine is needed. “It’s not a need. But, if you build the right type of product with the right environment in the right location and attract the right clientele, you’ll do quite well,” he tells GlobeSt.com.

Connor says the strip has “barely scratched the surface” of what it can deliver to the wide-eyed and high-rolling public, which surprisingly pumps more revenue into the strip’s routine fare than gambling. Some $7.5 billion is generated annually from gaming whereas the strip’s yearly tourist take hovers at $21 billion. In comparison, visitor spending in San Francisco tallies $5 billion and New York City, $15 billion.

The changing face of the city, more specifically the strip, has evolved into an entertainment destination center, going far beyond its original target audience. The average tourist gambles 3.9 hours per day. “And, they (tourists) don’t come to Las Vegas to sleep. More are shopping and dining. It’s the Las Vegas experience,” says Connor. “It’s a state of mind. With a full house, not only do you have your campus, but you have people coming from every place else on the strip just to see it.”

Connor pegs the strip’s average hotel occupancy at 92.1%, but newer and glitzier draws are bringing much higher bookings. Factor in the smaller locations and occupancy dips to 88%, he says.

With 14 of the nation’s largest 15 hotels positioned on the strip, Wynn will have to outdo himself once again. Wynn Resorts’ Clark County plan calls for 15 restaurants and entertainment spots, 132,000 sf of convention space, a 120,000-sf casino, 70,000 sf of retail space and large showrooms, wedding chapels, spa and oversized pool. Some of the Desert Inn’s 27 buildings will be razed to make way for Wynn’s grandiose plan, which could take until 2006 before doors open.

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