Las Vegas is trying to attract middle-income tourists from China with two new projects specifically designed to appeal to Asians. On May 5, Resorts World Las Vegas finally broke ground on a long-awaited mega resort on 87 acres at the north end of the iconic Strip. In addition, construction has begun on Lucky Dragon, a boutique hotel located right off the Strip at 300 W. Sahara Avenue.

Resorts World Las Vegas

The hotly-anticipated Resorts World Las Vegas, located on the site of the former Stardust Resort and Casino, will be a Chinese-themed complex featuring a panda exhibit, an indoor water park and a replica of the Great Wall of China. The 21,847,314-square-foot mega resort will boast a 4,000-seat theater, a bowling alley, aquarium and retail, dining and convention space, in addition to four towers containing 6,583 guest rooms and a 175,000-square-foot casino.

Stardust Resort and Casino closed in 2006 after operating continuously for 48 years. Boyd Gaming bought the site, demolished the building and in 2007 started construction on Echelon Place. The recession permanently halted construction in 2008 and in 2013 Boyd Gaming sold the land to the Genting Group for $350 million. Genting is a multinational company with properties on seven continents. Its worldwide resorts draw 50 million customers annually. Its plan is to develop the Las Vegas site in phases.

Phase one of construction, which will include a 3,000-room hotel and the casino, was supposed to begin in late 2014, however ground breaking was repeatedly delayed. It finally took place May 5, with much fanfare and many dignitaries in attendance. The first phase, expected to cost $4 billion, will open in 2016. The complete project, which is expected to open in mid-2018, could cost up to $7 billion.  Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that it will bring 13,000 permanent jobs to the city.

Lucky Dragon

Early May also marked the beginning of construction on Lucky Dragon, a 201-room boutique hotel located on a 2.5-acre site just off the Strip, on Sahara Avenue between the Golden Steer restaurant and the Allure condominium tower. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the concrete foundation has been poured, and construction crews are there working.

The site was initially destined to become a twin tower to the $150 million Allure, a 41-story, 428-unit condo development at 200 W. Sahara Ave. Residents have been living at Allure since 2008, however because of the recession, a second building never materialized.

Instead, the developer is focusing on a boutique hotel casino with an Asian theme. Built with Feng Shui principles in mind, the two-story property will feature a curved design without sharp edges or corners, and will be red, considered a lucky color in China. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the building with include a pool, three restaurants and an 18,900-square-foot casino with 478 slot machines and baccarat tables, which are popular among Asians. Being located slightly off the Strip, the developer expects Lucky Dragon to become its own destination.