Las Vegas never stops looking to the future. There are new casino and hotel concepts for Las Vegas seemingly every month.
Some of those grand ideas come to fruition and open as intended, such as Circa Resort & Casino. Other casino dreams like Resorts World finally reach the finish line after taking many years to become reality. Then there are wild ideas that stall mid-construction or just fade into the dark without a whimper.
In the past year, we’ve covered the openings and highlighted some of the best features at Circa, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas and Resorts World as soon as guests were able to visit. Those casinos were all able to open in the past 12 months – during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But many developers used that downtime to come up with plans for when the world reopened. We’re now on the precipice of a slew of new hotel and casino ideas. Like always, some will open while others are never more than just an idea.
Let’s take a look at some of the new casino and hotel projects in the works. We’ll also update on a project that has been in the works for more than a decade and is still a hideous big blue question mark on the Vegas Strip.
Durango Resort breaking ground next year
Station Casinos recently received permission from Clark County to build a new casino and hotel about 15 minutes from the Vegas Strip. The company will break ground on Durango Resort in early 2022. The casino will be relatively small with less than 90,000 square feet of gaming, about 200 hotel rooms, four restaurants and a food hall.
Durango Resort should be a beautiful comfortable new casino for Las Vegas locals, and Station Casinos surely knows about catering to locals as it does with its other properties. While its Red Rock Resort is the go-to spot for Summerlin and Northwest Las Vegas residents, and Green Valley Ranch is the same for those living on the east side of town, Durango Resort will provide that for those in Mountain’s Edge and the Southwest. Given that it’s sometimes difficult to get a restaurant reservation at those other properties, or even find a pool chair to have a local pool day, a new property will help ease the demand.
Tourists looking to experience a different part of Las Vegas will also enjoy another Station Casinos property.
This isn’t the first go-around for Station Casinos to build a casino on Durango Drive. The casino floated the idea of creating Durango Station more than a decade ago, so it will be nice to see it come to life.
Of all the new casinos and hotels being planned, Durango Resort seems to be the most likely to open. Construction should be completed by the end of 2023.
Dream Hotel approved for takeoff
Dream Hotel Group announced it would be building a Las Vegas property in early 2020 with an opening date planned for 2023.
Construction was delayed as some airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) opposed building a casino hotel so close to McCarran Airport. Well, the dream is alive (pun intended)! The Clark County Commission recently voted 6-1 to approve plans for Dream Las Vegas.
Dream hotel and casino construction is planned to break ground in mid to late 2022 and open by 2024. This boutique luxury property will be located across the street from Mandalay Bay. It will feature 526 rooms over 19 stories.
A person familiar with Dream Hotels properties says to look for it to draw a similar trendy crowd as The Cosmopolitan, and Dream Hotels has other chic hotels in many city hotspots around the world. Dream Hotel could be opening at the right time. It will take some time for MGM Resorts to integrate the newly purchased Cosmopolitan into its corporate structure.
Majestic Las Vegas is back on course
Majestic Las Vegas was first brought to the public in 2019 with plans to break ground in 2020. The non-gaming hotel near the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) was delayed and now plans to break ground in early 2022. The project is now expected to be completed by 2024.
If completed as planned, Majestic Las Vegas will be an ultra-luxury hotel geared towards business travelers because of its location near the convention center. While the hotel will focus on business travelers there’s a large segment of vacationers who might visit just to spend time relaxing in the 70,000-square-foot wellness center. Any way you slice it, the location of Majestic is unbeatable.
What’s next for the Riviera hotel land
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) purchased the Riviera and its land in 2015. The property was imploded in 2016 to make way for a convention center expansion that would bring the LVCC to the Vegas Strip.
The expanded convention center didn’t use all of the land and 10 acres was recently sold to a Chilean casino operator. For the sake of comparison, The Cosmopolitan is on a plot of 8.5 acres. While a new Riviera may not be in the works, there will be some kind of hotel built on the land. There’s already speculation that the owner of Sun International casinos will embark on a new Las Vegas casino.
Makeover for Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace
In 2013, Nobu Hotel opened in the Centurion Tower at Caesars Palace. The semi-private hotel within a hotel has just under 200 hotel rooms, which will get a nice refresh in the coming months. Las Vegas hotel rooms are usually updated every six or seven years. The timing here is perfect as Caesars moves forward after its merger approval last year.
This makeover is already underway and should be complete before the end of the year. These beautiful luxury hotel rooms are often the most expensive hotel rooms of all Caesars Las Vegas properties. The rooms will be streamlined and have a lighter look compared to the product so many have come to love over the years.
A big blue unfinished mess on the north end of the Vegas Strip
To say the Fontainebleau Las Vegas situation was (and still is) a mess would be an understatement. Conceived in 2007, it was to be a sister property to the illustrious and famed Fontainebleau Miami. The concepts for the casino resort were extraordinary for the time. While construction on the big blue resort and casino started, the developers ran out of money and the project stalled after being 90% finished in 2009. Of course, you’ll notice the timing. The Great Recession derailed the project and unfortunately, it has never really gotten back on the train tracks.
The property has changed hands and names numerous times. In 2018, real estate firm Witkoff purchased the property and renamed it The Drew. The company brought in Marriott to run the hotel operations and planned to open the property in 2020. Not so fast.
Witkoff bailed on the project earlier this year and sold it to Koch Industries. As of February, the plan was to finish the property with…Fontainebleau Development.
There’s no solid plan available for the future of the unfinished big blue hotel tower moving forward. We do know that Marriott will no longer operate the hotel. Fontainebleau plans to operate the hotel itself. This is probably why the real estate developer partnered with a hotel operator.
Some 11 years after the Fontainbleau Las Vegas almost came to fruition, the building still stands empty and in need of repair.
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But wait…there’s more
Expect to see and hear more Vegas resort plans next year. Bally Corporation purchased the Tropicana. The deal is scheduled to close next year and there are plenty of rumors floating around from imploding the property and building a baseball stadium to simply adding a retail complex.
Las Vegas Sands hotels and its expo center were sold earlier this year. The Venetian will have a new owner when the deal closes in the first half of 2022. There aren’t many rumors here but there are bound to be changes to the property.
Caesars plans to sell a Vegas Strip property in 2022. The company has been tight-lipped on specifics. Rumors have been going around for a couple of years that Bally’s or Planet Hollywood could be sold but there’s no clear picture yet.
The new owners of Rio will take over the property next year. The company is developing a plan for the property. One thing we do know is that Hyatt will operate the hotel.
As previously mentioned, MGM Resorts purchased The Cosmopolitan. This deal should close in the second half of 2022. It will take a while for the property to fully become a part of the MGM system so don’t expect major changes as soon as the deal is officially done.
Lastly, a rumor is swirling that Circa could be sold to mega sportsbook operator DraftKings. This is just a rumor that has already been shot down but we can expect to see movement by non-Vegas sportsbook companies when the Nevada Gaming Control Board allows mobile account registration.
The LVCVA updates its construction bulletin for Las Vegas a couple of times a year if you’re ever curious about what’s in the pipeline.