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Best of Liz Benston

Gaming Guru

Liz Benston

Wynn Splits Project Into Two

16 March 2005

LAS VEGAS -- A few months after announcing details for a second hotel tower at Wynn Las Vegas, Steve Wynn's company has already elevated the project into a freestanding resort, committing more money to a bigger project than originally planned.

The tower, called Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, is now expected to cost up to $1.4 billion and be marketed as a standalone casino resort, Wynn Resorts Ltd. disclosed in the company's annual report Tuesday.

Initially conceived as a $900 million addition to Wynn Las Vegas with 1,500 rooms, Encore will now feature 2,000 hotel suites with separate living rooms and bedrooms in each unit. The resort also will feature "significant" additional casino, convention and meeting space as well as new restaurants, entertainment venues, a spa and salon, swimming pools and retail space, the report said. Encore will open in the first half of 2008 instead of the previously stated 2007 opening.

"Encore will be "integrated with Wynn Las Vegas through its public space," the company said.

"The scope and design of the project have not been finalized and remain subject to approval by the company's board of directors.

"The company's annual report also revealed details of its upcoming Wynn Macau resort in China.

"Construction on the 600-room resort began in June on 11 of the project's 16 acres in Macau's inner harbor, with the remainder of the land to be considered for a subsequent expansion. The project is expected to cost about $704 million, including construction and design costs of about $425 million, and is anticipated to open by the end of September 2006.

"It will feature a 100,000-square-foot casino floor, seven restaurants, about 28,000 square feet of retail space, entertainment venues and a spa and salon.

""Detailed interior design work is continuing with the majority of architectural and structural design work now complete," the company said.

"Separately, the company said it envisions spending about $1 billion to develop a casino resort in Singapore.

"The company's proposal to build a casino in Singapore's Marina District was one of about 19 concepts submitted to the government by a February deadline.

"The Singapore project would require additional financing, the company said.

"Wynn Las Vegas, scheduled to open April 28, will cost $2.7 billion, including $1.6 billion in design and construction costs and $1.1 billion in development costs such as pre-opening expenses, land acquisition costs, furniture and casino equipment, it said.

"In the company's annual report, Wynn Resorts -- which has not yet opened any of its properties -- reported a net loss of $127.7 million in the fourth quarter of last year compared with $12.4 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The widening loss is related to increased development costs, pre-opening costs and a $97.2 million loss on the early retirement of debt. The company reported a $205.6 million loss in 2004 compared with a $48.9 million loss in 2003.