Las Vegas is constantly reinventing the status quo and never growing stagnant. Resorts here have a notoriously short lifespan and are imploded and reborn as new, re-imagined mega-resorts with mind-numbing frequency.
Considering the level of anticipation and excitement that accompany resort projects in all stages, I thought it would be fun to track the progress of projects that are currently in the pipeline and celebrate the new casinos that have crossed the finish line.
Projects In Progress
The following Las Vegas resort projects are at various stages of development and range from mere renderings to near completion.
Of course, it’s never a given that a planned resort property will cross the finish line. Rarely is getting too attached to a concept advisable until meaningful progress is observed.
Hard Rock Las Vegas
In December of 2022, Hard Rock International purchased the operations of Mirage from MGM Resorts for $1.075 billion, bringing the well-known brand to the Las Vegas Strip.
Details about what Hard Rock International has planned for the resort are still murky, but it is known that they plan to erect a 600-suite, 660-foot tall guitar-shaped hotel tower right on the Strip where Mirage’s volcano currently sits.
As you can see in the rendering below, the newest hotel tower in Vegas will easily boast some of the best views of the Strip.
In a press release, Hard Rock International indicated their Las Vegas property would open in 2025.
While there was once a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas away from the Strip (now Virgin Las Vegas), Hard Rock International wasn’t involved with the property in any way.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas
What has been an eyesore remnant of the great recession, Fontainebleau’s partially completed tower has sat watch over the Strip for a decade-plus and hardly qualifies as a “new” casino project.
Located just north of the former Riviera site, and across the street from Circus Circus, the blue behemoth was originally slated to open as Fontainebleau Las Vegas in 2009.
Unfortunately, funding ran dry as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, bringing construction to a grinding halt.
During the depths of the great recession, Carl Icahn stepped up and purchased the stalled Fontainebleau project for a mere $148 million dollars, sold off the furniture, and sat on the property in anticipation of better times.
Fast forward to 2017 and the stalled resort project was purchased by The Witkoff Group from Carl Ichan for $600 million. Witkoff renamed the project “The Drew” after his late son.
The resort again changed hands in 2021 when Witkoff sold the unfinished project to Koch Real Estate Investments in partnership with Fontainebleau Development.
Interestingly, the project has come full circle as Fontainebleau Development was involved in the original design. For those keeping score at home, the project is once again Fontainebleau Las Vegas.
When complete, Fontainebleau will have 3,644 rooms, 550,000 square feet of convention space, a rooftop pool deck, and a 150,000-square-foot casino.
Fontainebleau Las Vegas will (finally) officially open its doors to the public on December 13, 2023.
Dream Hotels Las Vegas
Dream plans to offer a 20,000-square-foot casino, 531 rooms & suites, 12,000 square feet of meeting space, a fitness center, and a spa.
There will be 7 dining and nightlife options, including a 24-hour diner, coffee shop, day club, lobby bar, and nightclub.
Dream’s pool will be 12,000 square feet and be found atop their roof on the 3rd floor.
The official groundbreaking took place in July of 2022 and Dream intends to welcome their first guests in late 2024.
Although construction has started, work came to a screeching halt in March of 2023 due to a financing snag per the Las Vegas Review-Journal. According to that article, a new financing deal was supposedly in the works and was to be secured within a matter of weeks.
Unfortunately, as of October 2023, there is no new activity at the construction site.
I’m choosing to remain hopeful, but time will tell.
Horseshoe Las Vegas
Work to transition Bally’s into Horseshoe Las Vegas began in the spring of 2022 and continues although the property has already officially changed its name to reflect the new identity.
The rebranding includes a number of new food and beverage offerings.
Ole Red will be a live country music venue located in the Grand Bazaar Shops along Las Vegas Blvd. The live music destination, which is currently being built, is the ideation of Blake Shelton and will feature up-and-coming performers.
Bottled Blonde, a $50 million “sports, entertainment, and nightlife” hub, will be built along the Strip right next door to Ole Red. The chain will offer a full menu, beer garden, and open-air rooftop lounge.
Jack Binion’s Steakhouse has already joined the culinary lineup and is serving up steaks nightly. Jack, of course, is the son of the legendary Benny Binion.
The gaming floor has also gotten an upgrade, and features “tooled leather, dramatic colors, and the brand’s signature gold horseshoe iconography”.
Bally’s was in desperate need of attention, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the re-imagined Horseshoe brings to the table when finally completed sometime in early 2024.
Oak View Group Casino/Hotel/Arena
The Oak View Group recently announced a 25-acre land acquisition south of the Strip at the intersection of I-15 and I-215 to build a $10 billion entertainment complex.
The yet-to-be-named project will have a casino, hotel, and a 20k-seat “NBA Ready” arena.
Unlike the Raiders and A’s, Oak View Group is not requesting any public money for the project, which is likely to attract an NBA franchise.
Groundbreaking is anticipated to occur in 2024, and I’ll be sure to share more details as they emerge.
Tilman Fertitta’s Unnamed Strip Resort Project
This one’s exciting.
Tilman Fertitta, owner of the Houston Rockets and Golden Nugget among other holdings, has filed plans for a 43-story, 2,400+ room casino & hotel on the corner of Harmon and the Las Vegas boulevard.
Formerly occupying this plot of land was a TexMex restaurant, Travelodge hotel, and a rather depressing mini-mall.
Although Clark County approved plans for a new resort in October 2022, The Nevada Independent recently quoted an executive associated with Fertitta as saying “It’s very expensive to build right in an inflationary environment”, adding that Tilman is still weighing his options.
As of November 2023, the Tex Mex Bar & Grill is still standing tall. I’ll assume we’re onto something once the restaurant is leveled.
Recently Completed Resorts
Durango is officially open, serving the locals market in southwest Las Vegas.
The resort has an 83,000+ square foot casino, meeting space, a 200+ room hotel, and one of the most beautiful indoor/outdoor sportsbooks I have ever seen.
Dining options include 4 sit-down restaurants (a steakhouse, Mexican, American, and a brunch spot) in addition to the upscale Eat Your Heart Out Food Hall hall with 11 fast-casual options.
The property is similar to other higher-end properties in the Station portfolio like Red Rock and Green Valley Ranch.
Resorts World Las Vegas
Located just south of Circus Circus and across the street from Encore, Resorts World opened on June 24th, 2021 making it the newest casino in Las Vegas (for now, at least).
The $4.3 billion resort boasts 3,500 guest rooms, a 5,000-seat theater, 110,000 square feet of gaming, and 270,000 square feet of dining/shopping.
While the casino accepts cash, the Resorts World Phone App allows guests to go completely cashless if that is their preference. Everything from slot machines and table games, to retail and restaurant purchases, can be funded via your phone.
Attracting plenty of attention on opening night was Resorts World’s Famous Foods Street Eats food hall, which offers a wide-ranging collection of cuisine from around the world including a speakeasy bar.
Resorts World’s rooftop pool deck incorporates 7 unique pool experiences overlooking resorts on the Strip to the south.
In the spirit of going big, Resorts World has also incorporated an enormous 100,000-square-foot LED screen into the hotel’s west hotel tower. The screen has been used for advertising, broadcasting sporting events, and welcoming VIPs.
Circa Las Vegas
The first new construction resort to be built downtown Las Vegas in decades, Circa has raised the bar on Fremont Street.
Sitting on the footprint of the old Las Vegas Club, Mermaids, and the Glitter Gulch gentlemen’s club, Circa is already wowing with unique, differentiated amenities.
Circa offers an upbeat two-level casino with over 1,300 slot machines and 55 table games.
While the gaming floor is beautiful, the crown jewel is the sportsbook screen, which measures in at 3 stories tall and 78 million pixels. The biggest in the world, the screen is almost omnipresent as you navigate either level of the casino.
Stadium Swim, the resort’s rooftop pool deck, is comprised of six heated pools, 2 swim-up bars, and a 125-foot TV screen – It’s impressive.
Circa has also incorporated the freshly refurbished Vegas Vickie (who previously sat above Glitter Gulch) prominently in the new resort.
In response to shifting transportation trends, Circa is the first Las Vegas resort to offer a dedicated rideshare pickup location in their parking garage dubbed “Garage Mahal”.
Circa is also an adult-only property – Leave the kids at home!
I recently stayed in one of Circa’s Single King rooms with a Stadium Swim View and the experience surpassed my lofty expectations.
At the end of the day, new resorts in Las Vegas have a history of going broke and stalling for an extended period of time, however, the recent openings of Circa, Resorts World, and Fontainebleau have me cautiously optimistic that the future is bright.
I’m a former software salesman turned Vegas aficionado. While the craps table is my preferred habitat, I pull myself away to explore new attractions, shows, restaurants, and outdoor activities around Las Vegas with the intent of sharing my experiences.
Ultimately, I just want to help folks plan a better trip and save a few bucks in the process.