Alon project to go ahead despite Packer share sale

Casino Review Alon Site Las Vegas
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The head of the Alon Las Vegas resort has denied reports that the multi billion-dollar project is on hold.


[dropcap]F[/dropcap]ollowing news that James Packer’s privately held investment vehicle, Consolidated Press Holdings, would sell 35 million shares of Crown Resorts – about 4.8 per cent of the company – the head of the Alon resort has denied reports that the project has been postponed.

Andrew Pascal, CEO of Alon Las Vegas, which is being developed on the former site of the New Frontier Hotel and Casino on the northern end of the Strip, said the company has further slowed its development pace but that Australian billionaire Packer’s sale of Crown shares won’t affect the project.

“The project hasn’t been suspended and the financing is complicated because it’s a multi billion-dollar greenfield development,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Continued challenges in financing the $2bn (E1.8bn) resort project have been a hindrance, but pre-design and design phases were continuing, he said.


The project hasn’t been suspended and the financing is complicated because it’s a multi billion-dollar greenfield development


Crown Gaming, along with Oaktree Capital and Pascal, a former Wynn Resorts executive, purchased the 35-acre site for a reported $260m (E230m) in 2014, but there has been no visible progress on the project since that time.

Earlier this year, Packer said the 1,100-room resort development was on hold due to “weakened American debt markets”. And while Pascal’s latest comments will go some way to allaying the concerns of investors and the city’s tourism bosses, a definitive construction timeline for the project, which was once slated to open in 2018, is yet to materialise.

The Alon is one of three new mixed-use resort destinations currently under construction at the northern end of the Strip. In January this year, Nevada officials gave Genting permission to begin development of the $4bn (E3.6bn) Resorts World Las Vegas casino, on the site of the former Stardust Resort and cancelled Echelon Place project.

The Clark County Zoning Commission signed off on the site entitlements for the 88-acre project, with construction of its first phase – which is set to include a Chinese garden, 30,000sq.ft lake and other water features – due to begin over the coming weeks.

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When this initial phase opens in mid-2018, Malaysia-based Genting revealed that Resorts World Las Vegas would later comprise a 3,300-room tower alongside a 175,000sq.ft casino, a replica of the Great Wall of China, an indoor waterpark, a 4,000-seat theatre and around 30 dining and nightlife facilities.

Meanwhile, the Chinese-themed Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino is expected to open by the end of this year. Located on Sahara Avenue, just west of the Strip, the project is the first ‘ground up’ casino development in Las Vegas for six years and aims to become the city’s first resort delivering an authentic Asian cultural experience.

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