Houston Chronicle Sunday

Sin City in 2020 and beyond

- Christophe­r Reynolds

Resorts rise, resorts fall (or get strategica­lly imploded). Brands are born, go dim, then sometimes are reborn. So goes business as usual in Las Vegas, which draws more than 40 million tourists annually and will be unveiling new hotels, a new football stadium and an expanded convention center in the coming months. Here’s a roundup of this and more.

Before plunging ahead, a note about hotel rooms and prices. The city’s hotelroom inventory has hovered around 150,000 for several years. The average daily room rate for the first nine months of 2019 was $133; that’s $143 on the Strip and $72 in the humbler properties downtown. When browsing prices, beware of resort fees, which often add $35 or more a night to your bill yet are often omitted from advertised rates.


Circa Resort & Casino is the first newbuilt hotel-casino in downtown Las Vegas in about 40 years. The property, under constructi­on at Fremont and Main streets, is due to open in December with 777 rooms on 44 floors. (Because of various superstiti­ous numerical omissions, the floor numbering will actually go to 60.)

Designed to invoke local history, Circa will include Vegas Vickie (a high-kicking neon cowgirl formerly seen above Fremont Street) in its lobby. Other features: the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, a sports-book area with a very big screen and a nine-story Garage Mahal that will contain 1,201 parking spaces.


The first Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas will occupy the old home of the Hard Rock Hotel about a mile east of the Strip. It will have 1,504 rooms and a 60,000square-foot casino, and will be part of the Hilton Curio collection when it opens in the fall.


The 629-room Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino is due to add a building with 495 more rooms by mid-2020.


The Las Vegas Convention Center is expanding by 1.4 million square feet by December, bringing the vast, busy complex to 200 acres. To get convention­eers from one end to the other, Elon Musk’s The Boring Co. in November started digging a mile of tunnels for an electric people-mover beneath the convention center. It’s due for completion in 2021.


Allegiant Stadium, a 65,000-seat football venue, is under constructi­on just west of Interstate 15 near Mandalay Bay. Target completion date is July 31, and the Raiders (based in Oakland in 2019) are supposed to start playing home games there in the

2020 season. The UNLV Rebels will also use the venue. Twitter commenters have already suggested the new stadium looks like a Death Star, a slow-cooker appliance, a hockey puck or maybe a big Roomba vacuum.

AFTER 2020

That, to be sure, is a substantia­l list of openings and expansions. But another long-awaited opening had been expected in 2020: Resorts World, a $4.3 billion, 88acre, 3,500-room casino hotel that will be the biggest new hotel-casino project on the Strip since the unveiling in late 2010 of the Cosmopolit­an.

The Resorts World project, a venture of the Malaysia-based Genting Group, is still coming, but its opening date has slipped to the summer of 2021. Through delays, redesigns, legal skirmishes with the nearby Wynn resort and leadership changes, the project has morphed from a Chinese theme to a more modern internatio­nal look intended to draw American, European and Asian guests alike.

Also in 2021, the people behind Madison Square Garden in New York are due to unveil MSG Sphere, a 17,500-seat performanc­e venue next to the Venetian hotel. The structure, under constructi­on, is to be 366 feet tall and spherical.

 ?? Circa Resort & Casino / TNS ?? Circa Resort & Casino is the first new-built hotel-casino in downtown in about 40 years.
Circa Resort & Casino / TNS Circa Resort & Casino is the first new-built hotel-casino in downtown in about 40 years.

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