The north Strip site formerly home to the Stardust, then the scrapped Echelon project, is set to start coming to life again in less than two months when Resorts World Las Vegas finally breaks ground.
Michael Levoff, a spokesman for the Resorts World parent company, confirmed via email that the project would break ground May 5, more than two years after it was first announced. He said developers were “finalizing (their) design and development plan” and intended to open the first phase “towards the end of 2017.”
When Genting Group, a powerful Asian gaming company, disclosed its intent to build Resorts World Las Vegas in 2013, it anticipated breaking ground in 2014 and opening the first phase in 2016. Levoff said the timeline was delayed by “necessary fine tuning” of the design “to ensure that we get it right.”
“We'll have regular announcements on particulars of the development as we get closer to groundbreaking and proceed through construction,” Levoff said in an email.
For decades, the site, located near Circus-Circus and the Riviera, was where the Stardust stood. But Boyd Gaming closed the Stardust in 2006 and imploded it the next year in order to make way for its planned Echelon resort.
Work on Echelon stopped in 2008 as the recession took its toll on Las Vegas. Boyd sold the site to Genting for $350 million in March 2013.
Resorts World Las Vegas would bring a big energy boost to the north Strip area, where development has lagged since the economic downturn. Nearby, the mothballed Fontainebleau structure has been empty for years.
“It’s huge for the north end of the Strip,” said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani of the Resorts World developers breaking ground. “(But) they’re being cautious, which I would expect them to be, with the economy and the downturn.”
Giunchigliani, whose district includes the north Strip, said she was able to secure a decommissioning plan so that if Resorts World falls through for some reason, it won’t be “just sitting there like the Fontainebleau.”
The neighborhood is starting to turn around.
Last August, SLS Las Vegas opened in the skeleton of the old Sahara. Across the street from SLS, MGM Resorts International is building a concert venue that will open in time for the Rock in Rio festival in May. And a team that includes Australian billionaire James Packer revealed plans last fall to build a resort on the site of the former New Frontier, just north of the Fashion Show mall on Las Vegas Boulevard.