LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — For so long, it was just a dirt lot. Eighty-eight acres of land on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip where the Stardust once stood. But now, Resorts World Las Vegas is taking shape.
While it’s easy to see the construction take shape, changes have been made behind the scenes. A scheduled opening in 2020 was put off for another year.
“It’s our baby,” said Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas president.
He is no stranger to Las Vegas. He’s worked in gaming for years, eight of them as president of MGM Grand. But when Resorts World is done, it might be his crowning achievement.
“I’m proud to be part of this project,” Sibella said. “There hasn’t been a project like this in 10 to 11 years. I don’t know if there’ll ever be a project in Las Vegas like this, at this level.”
Sibella was named president of Resorts World Las Vegas over the summer. It didn’t take long for him to realize the goal of opening the $4.3 billion property in 2020 was a bit ambitious.
“I thought the same thing a lot of people thought. What’s going on? It was moving very slow.”
So, he made some changes. Sibella recruited new executives with more local gaming experience. He added more entertainment to the project and then delayed the opening to the summer of 2021.
“I did slow the project down a little bit. We added more size to it. We added a 5,000-seat theater. More convention space,” Sibella said. “The key is that everything works when you open. We’re opening in one phase. You get one shot when the customer comes to make sure everything’s right.”
Resorts world will also have some of the latest technology. An enormous LED screen will drape over one tower facing the Strip. Customers can use their phones throughout their experience.
But this is the north Strip. An area that has struggled to match the expectations gaming business experts say it has. Struggling and stillborn projects are scattered around Resorts World’s rising hotel.
“We know it’s not going to happen overnight. But we feel comfortable that the business will shift down to the north side.”
Sibella is confident, in time, this will be the place to be. Across the Las Vegas Boulevard is a main lifeline — the expanding Las Vegas Convention Center.
“There’s not going to be a financing problem,” Sibella said. “Every day, you struggle and find different problems that come up that you have to take care of. Right now, we’re very comfortable that we’re on schedule and on budget for 2021.”
Sibella says Resorts World is working on lining up entertainment and residencies for the future.
Resorts World plans to finish wrapping the property by the end of January and the signage should be up by March.