North Is The New South Dept: Enter The Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino
The fight for north strip Asian gamblers is about to heat up.
The Lucky Dragon, a $135 million dollar project backed by Las Vegas real estate developer Andrew Fonfa (who owns neighboring Allure condominiums) and helmed by former Las Vegas Sands honcho William Weidner, the man responsible for building the global gaming empire LVS money man by Sheldon Adelson.
The Lucky Dragon is located on the north side of Sahara Avenue, just west of Las Vegas Boulevard. The area was previously a gas station and sits adjacent to the Allure condominiums, two doors down from The Worlds Largest Gift Shop. Directly to the south is the former El Rancho property, currently held by MGM Resorts International. SLS, Stratosphere and a proposed Walgreens/Casino are also within walking distance.
The Lucky Dragon boasts "futuristic high-end resort luxuries, with an appreciation for ancient Asian culture" and will feature 200 hotel rooms and suites "appointed in modern Asian style." Decor will feature traditional graphic scroll calligraphy and modern Asian silk paintings designed to showcase the "rich ancient culture of Asia."
Keeping with its Asian theme, The Lucky Dragon boasts having a 23,500 square foot casino floor with 500 slot machines and 50 gaming tables which focus on Baccarat, Pai Gow, Fan Tan and Sic Bo plus a high limit salon Feng Shui'd to the max.
Dining, as you may have surmised, will also be Asian focused, with dim sum restaurant (Din Tai Fung?) a tea cafe, a food court done up like Beijing's Wangfujing Snack Street, a casual fine dining restaurant serving northern and southern cuisine from China plus a.... (trumpet fanfare) Karaoke Bar!
Retail will feature higher end jewelry, clothing and a sundries/logo merchandise shop.
Lucky Dragon has contracted with Penta Building Group as general contractor.
So, how are they going to pay for it? The principals will be contributing 30% of the development costs including site clean up, design work, legal fees, security, gaming licenses (Fonfa is licensed owner of Indian Springs Casino) principal development and the real estate - roughly $40m bucks. The remainder of the costs will be covered by a $500,000 per visa EB5 investment program. Investors into the EB5 program are also rewarded by being enrolled in Premier level of Lucky Dragon's rewards program.
Of the myriad vaporware casino projects that get announced each year, Lucky Dragon is one of the few to have spend the time actually organizing its (Peking) ducks. William Weidner was, for a time, the heir apparent of LVS and one of the five most powerful people in the Las Vegas casino industry. Having his name attached to this project lends it credibility it might never have. Additionally, the selection of solid Asian theme so close to Chinatown plus the boutique scale make this a very doable project on a very very limited budget and a non-existent player development Rolodex.
Big huge thanks to VT reader Phil for the tip!
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