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If you build a $3 billion resort south of the Las Vegas Strip, will guests come?

April 18, 2022
4 min read
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If you build a $3 billion resort south of the Las Vegas Strip, will guests come?
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It might seem like a huge gamble, even by Sin City standards, to plop a multibillion-dollar resort so far away from the core cluster of resorts on the Las Vegas Strip.

That isn’t deterring one development team from moving ahead on what they say will bring a massive entertainment district to an area of the city primed for growth.

Oak View Group plans to develop a $3 billion entertainment district — complete with an 850,000-square-foot arena, amphitheater, casino and hotel — in Las Vegas. The head-scratcher for regular Vegas visitors might stem from the fact that development seems to be going in the opposite direction of most recent projects announced for the Las Vegas Strip.

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The Oak View project site, near the intersection of interstates 15 and 215, is six miles south of Bellagio Resort & Casino. It’s even farther from more-recent developments on the northern end of the Strip like Resorts World Las Vegas and the long-stalled Fontainebleau project, which has been revived under several concepts but is slated for an opening next year.

But the Oak View team sees merit in heading south.

The planned 25-acre project is at the intersection of two busy interstate highways, as well as adjacent to the site of a planned Brightline West high-speed rail station, the terminus of a proposed train service between Las Vegas and Southern California.

“You have this massive amount of potential on this plot of dirt,” said Marc Badain, former president of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and a partner on the project, in an interview with TPG. “You have a tremendous amount of growth opportunity there.”

The scope of the project is reflective of how Las Vegas increasingly relies on entertainment dollars to complement gambling. Oak View proposed a roughly 20,000-seat arena to host concerts, sporting events, award shows and other large events.

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The development team has indicated it would pitch the arena for an NBA team, should one ever come to Las Vegas. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last fall noted Las Vegas was a city the organization would consider for an expansion team if the opportunity to expand arose. Hosting a professional sports franchise could be just the magnet needed to draw visitors south.

Centering a project around sports and entertainment is also smart when it comes to wooing guests.

Gambling floors are no longer the main reason to visit Las Vegas. Roughly half the respondents in a 2021 visitor profile survey conducted by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority said their primary reason for visiting the city was for vacation or pleasure, compared to only 8% who said the primary reason was to gamble. That means cool restaurants and Celine Dion concerts increasingly pull their weight in this town.

“Las Vegas is really becoming more and more of a sports and entertainment kind of town as well as conventions,” said Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “The sports arena would make logical sense at that intersection because it becomes a great place for people who live on the west side and people who live on the east side. It’s a convenient location for everybody.”

A sports arena with any kind of professional sports franchise means the Oak View team plans to cater to at least some degree of local traffic. It’s a move The Palms notably adopted in its recent reopening plans.

It also shows how Las Vegas is increasingly a go-to destination for major events, from awards shows to concert residencies of some of the world’s biggest musical acts.

“It's a city that really shows it can handle large events and do it very well,” Shoemaker said.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
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  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.