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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Bethlehem wants Las Vegas Sands hotel timeline

8 February 2010

BETHLEHEM, Pennsylvania -- The mayor of Bethlehem, Pa., wants Las Vegas Sands Corp. to set a construction timeline for the Sands Bethlehem's stalled hotel, mall and conference center.

Mayor John Callahan asked the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to make the timeline part of the casino's relicensing.

"Bethlehem and the state invested a great deal in this project and are entitled to a firmer timetable for restarting construction," Callahan said.

Las Vegas Sands plans to wait until the financial markets improve before restarting a 300-room hotel, 200,000-square-foot mall and 46,000-square-foot conference center.

Las Vegas Sands President Michael Leven, at gaming conference in Las Vegas last month, said the company would not evaluate restarting the hotel's construction until the end of the year, and only after the casino adds table games, which were recently approved by the state.

"We have no plans to start the hotel again … until we can justify it financially," Leven said.

The mayor said he still supports the license renewal for Sands Bethlehem, which opened last May with 3,000 slot machines and several restaurants on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill.