Wynn Resorts venturing into NY for Manhattan project

Las Vegas Boulevard, the epicenter of American gambling, is dominated by New York City landlords.

Now a big company from Las Vegas wants to bite off the Big Apple.

New York real estate heavyweight Related Companies recently announced it is partnering with Wynn Resorts to seek a casino license, with plans for a project at Related’s Hudson Yards development in Manhattan.

Their press release gave no details about the project, saying only that it would be a “resort, entertainment and gaming destination along the Hudson River” and that it would be close to the sprawling Javits Center convention complex.

But Wynn’s venture marks a sort of reversal from what Las Vegas has seen in recent years: New Yorkers are buying real estate in Southern Nevada’s most lucrative real estate stretch.

Of course, Las Vegas has long been a destination for out-of-town developers, homesteaders and commercial real estate landlords. (I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve written about Southern California companies buying apartment complexes here.)

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But when it comes to the Strip, one city in particular has emerged as the primary source of buyers of late.

New York-based Vici Properties, a Caesars Entertainment spin-off, significantly expanded its Las Vegas holdings when it acquired casino giant MGM Resorts International’s real estate spin-off worth over $17 billion .

As part of the acquisition, which closed this spring, Vici acquired several MGM-operated properties on Las Vegas Boulevard, including The Mirage, Park MGM, New York-New York, Luxor and Excalibur.

Prior to that, Vici also acquired the properties of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. on the Strip — The Venetian, Palazzo and The Venetian Expo — for $4 billion, in a deal closed in February.

In all, Vici now owns 660 acres of real estate along the Strip, “the most economically productive street in the world,” the company said this spring.

Another big New York landlord is investment giant Blackstone, whose portfolios include Bellagio, Aria, and Vdara. It bought those three for a combined total of more than $8 billion and leased them back to MGM Resorts.

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It also owns two other MGM-operated properties — Mandalay Bay and MGM Grand — in a joint venture with Vici.

Blackstone had embarked on a real estate buying spree in southern Nevada after the economy collapsed about a decade earlier, and owned and operated The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for years.

The flashy hotel-casino was bought for $1.73 billion in 2014 and sold for $5.65 billion. The sale, which closed in May, was the “most profitable single sale ever” for Blackstone’s real estate business, the company previously said.

Meanwhile, New York’s Dreamscape Companies acquired Off-Strip Rio for $516.3 million in 2019, and New York investment firm Gindi Capital, after teaming up to purchase Showcase Mall a few years ago, bought more land in 2019 Las Vegas Boulevard for $172 million.

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Last month, Clark County Commissioners approved Gindi’s plans for a new three-story retail complex covering more than 300,000 square feet on the 9.5-acre site that Gindi acquired from Spectrum Group Management, another New York company.

Related, Wynn’s casino partner in New York, is no stranger to Las Vegas either. Among other things, it was a partner in the development of the World Market Center, the massive downtown furniture exhibition hall that was acquired by (drum roll) Blackstone in 2017.

Time will tell if other Las Vegas firms fly the flag in New York. But chances are a company will need to buy something there first.

The review journal is owned by the Adelson family, including Dr. Las Vegas Sands Corp. majority shareholder Miriam Adelson and Las Vegas Sands President and COO Patrick Dumont.

Contact Eli Segall at [email protected] or 702-383-0342. consequences @eli_segall on twitter.

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