Station Casinos plans to develop the most expensive project in Las Vegas

Station Casinos announced plans for a major development that is not only the most ambitious project in the company’s history, but also the most expensive project in the city of Las Vegas.

The company has tentative plans to build a mega resort near Tropicana and the I-15- the current site of Wild Wild West- that will be bigger that MGM Mirage’s CityCenter.

The project, that bears the working title “Viva,” would carry a price tag of USD 10 billion. It will be built on 44.5 hectares -CityCenter is on 26.7 hectares—and feature at least three casinos and three hotels with as many as 10,000 rooms. The first phase of the project would open with three hotels and 5,200 rooms accompanied by one large casino.

“As we started looking at the site, originally we were talking about one hotel-casino,”Station Casinos President Lorenzo Fertitta said. “But as we got more property we decided we have the ability to put multiple properties on there and create a whole development.”

He added that the company has been working on plans for the project for the past year, and that it is on top of the company’s list of developments. Presumably, this means projects like the one proposed for Reno, as well as other Las Vegas projects could be put on hold. Of course, just because some details of the project have been released doesn’t mean that it will be taking shape any time soon.

“It takes years to get a design completed,” said Station Casinos Chairman and CEO Frank Fertitta III. “Point of fact is we’re going to be in a position where CityCenter is going to be open. We’re going to have some visibility on how they’re doing before a project like this is even going to be in the ground.”

The delay might also help the company when it comes to attracting lenders, according to Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Bill Lerner. “When you have land and you have expertise, money will follow,” Lerner said. “The good news is they don’t have to raise the capital for it right now. The credit market will work itself out over a period of time.”

Lorenzo Fertitta said the company is talking to all potential partners and investors, as well as hotel operators who might be looking to enter the Las Vegas market. “There isn’t a hotel company we haven’t been talking to,” Frank Fertitta added. The company has no time frame for the project right now, but a statement from Lorenzo Fertitta might shed some light on how far out construction might be: “It will be a pretty significant development and a significant property that will keep us busy for the next 10 years.”

In the meantime, the company will be working to deliver the USD 675 million Aliante Station to market by the end of the year, and could start work on a property in the southwestern section of the Las Vegas Valley known unofficially as Durango Station. “We’ll be in a position toward the end of the year if we want to break ground we could do it,” Frank Fertitta said of the Durango project. “It’s pretty much ready to go.”