Alabama-based Indian tribe buys Sands Casino for $ 1.3 billion and plans to invest $ 190 million in a 300-room hotel expansion and development of # 2 machinery, possibly in an indoor facility -Water Park.
Wind Creek Hospitality executives sat down with lehighvalleylive.com at Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem on Tuesday afternoon for a series of meetings with local media companies.
It is the first time that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians branch has publicly talked about its plans for the site, since the announcement of Wind Creek on March 8, 2018, to buy one of the most lucrative gambling halls in Pennsylvania. The sale is still undergoing the regulatory review process of the state gambling center.
The success of Sands, coupled with the high-quality development of the estate, attracted Wind Creek as an attempt to diversify its assets, a process that began in 201
"When we look around the world for quality real estate that is in good shape, established, and very successful, there are not many. And this feature sure checks all these boxes, "he said. "We looked at that. The Lehigh Valley is growing, it is doing pretty well. The property has proven very well, and as I said, we have checked all the boxes that are important to us.
Once the sale has been approved by regulators in Pennsylvania, Wind Creek is ready to fill 190 million dollars in the 124-acre shaper to Bethlehem Steel Works, which has been in an eternal state in recent years as two break up potential sales.
The Las Vegas Sands Corp. It has long been clear that its smallest – but very profitable – stake in Bethlehem could do so for the right price.
First, Wind Creek plans to build $ 90 million to build another 300-room hotel tower with event space, which it hopes to open in two years, Dorris said. The new tower would be built perpendicular to the existing hotel in the parking lot.
"This building is not much work in our opinion. Obviously, the rebranding that changes the name is something that has to happen, "said Dorris. "The other thing that has drawn us to this property and this region is that we think there are expansion options, and outside the gate, it is our desire to add another hotel tower."
It is not planned to impose $ 90 million gaming floor expansion Sands began and then stopped. Twice the Sands, which has already produced gaming and consists of around 3,000 slot machines and 254 table games, has met that demand, said Brian Carr, president and COO of Sands Bethlehem, who intends to remain with Wind Creek after the sale. 19659013] Brian Carr, President and COO of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, advises on January 15, 2019, to buy and rename the property in Wind Creek Hospitality's casino hotel plans. ” sizes=”(max-width: 599px) 599px, (min-width: 600px) 881px, (min-width: 980px) 533px, 599px”/>
The hotel is constantly 95 percent busy. So it makes sense to invest the money there, Carr said. With more than 300 additional rooms and additional meeting rooms, Wind Creek Bethlehem will be able to attract larger conventions and meetings.
"I think we are all excited that we have new owners who are the first to do that, they want to recognize some of that potential, and we know that development brings more development, and I think what that is for Bethlehem and For the Lehigh Valley and for this part of Pennsylvania, a lot will be great news for all of us, "said Carr.
Sands has about 2,500 employees who will keep all their jobs, and the hotel expansion is expected Adding another 400 workers plus an unknown number of construction workers, all existing restaurants, including Chef Emeril Lagasse's restaurants, will remain, said Carr.
"There are good employees here and we want them to stay," said Dorris What Casino Sale To An Indian Tribe For Bethlehem Steel Means Land (MAP)
Wind Creek has made available another $ 100 million to Turning Machine Plant # 2 into "non-gaming convenience," Dorris said. He acknowledged that an indoor water park was one of the ideas studied, but emphasized that he is still in the study.
"We work with various architects, engineers and feasibility consultants to see what makes sense," said Dorris. "… We believe that we can diversify the attractiveness of the property in the area. So we are looking for what we could add, what would appeal to people who may not come today, but it would be interesting if we could give them the right one.
The mayor of Bethlehem, Bob Donchez, said he was on the windswept Wind Creek can move quickly.
"I was very impressed with the leadership of Wind Creek and was very impressed in our private discussions about what they wanted to do with the site," said Donchez.
Famous Machine # 2 The shop stretches from the Sands Outlet Mall to the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. At one point, plans for a bass pro shop, a hotel, and a convention center were planned in the building, but they were never realized.
Asked if Wind Creek wanted to preserve the cavernous building where naval ammunition was once made, Dorris said, "There's a lot of study and planning to do. But that is a very important structure, and if there is a way to use that structure, I think that would be preferable.
The future owners are anxious to preserve the iconic Bethlehem Steel blast furnaces, and left open the possibility of completing the facility Hoover Mason Trestle, the elevated linear park that offers a direct view of the stacks. The Bethlehem Redevelopment Authority always intended to continue the footpath with possible connections to the engineering factory and the hotel.
"There are no plans for Machine Shop No. 2," said Dorris. "However, I would like to point out that if this becomes a major attraction, it certainly makes sense for us to make the easy access between this facility and this facility as simple as possible. We do not know what that looks like in the end.
With more competition coming from surrounding countries, it's clear that Wind Creek wants to diversify its entertainment offerings while retaining the strong customer base that Sands has built. The Alabama Native American Affiliate has more ways to diversify the game than Las Vegas Sands, whose leader fights against online games.
The Sands received permits for Internet gaming on behalf of Wind Creek earlier this fall. It also won a bid for one of the Minicasino licenses in Pennsylvania, but it was invalidated when it was determined that the authorized site of the Mercer County satellite had violated the area claimed by another license. The new owners found the potential location on the Ohio border interesting, Carr said, and it's up to him to spot similar one-time opportunities as they emerge.
Tuesday's officials were reluctant to discuss the future of iGaming or sports betting in light of the release of a memo from the US Department of Justice Monday calling into question the viability of online games that cross state borders. An Obama era statement found that the Federal Wire Act, which prohibits inter-state betting, applies only to sports games. The 23-page statement, released on Monday, interprets the law as applicable to any form of betting that crosses state borders.
The 2011 statement opened the door to wealthy states and their lotteries to allow their local residents to gamble online. It was not intergovernmental sports betting.
Nevada, New Jersey and Delaware legalized online gambling after this statement was made, and the three states have agreements that allow poker players to compete online in the states. Pennsylvania was the fourth state to legalize online casino gambling in 2017.
Officials refuse to deal with details of the outstanding business, for example, who buys what.
"We will control the site," said Arthur Mothershed Vice President of Business Development for Wind Creek.
Today, Las Vegas Sands is the majority owner of Sands BethWorks Gaming LLC, which owns the Convention Center, Casino, and adjacent land for a total of 56 hectares. Local lawyer and developer Michael Perrucci, New York real estate developer Barry Gosin, and his business partners account for about 10 percent of BethWorks Gaming.
The remainder of the nearly 61-acre lot is owned by Sands BethWorks Retail LLC The property is split 50/50 between the Sands and Perrucci and its partners. BethWorks Retail holdings include the outlet center, blast furnaces, Steel General Office building, no. 2 Machine Shop and several parking spaces.
Carr, who has been with Las Vegas Sands for four years, looks forward to a single hand in shaping the future of the former flagship Bethlehem Steel plant, after spending time staring at the country and thinking about what might be , he said.
It may take months for the sale to be completed. The investigation and approval of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board for Wind Creek and tribal leaders are ongoing, said Board Spokesman Doug Harbach on Monday. There was no formal request for change of ownership of the gambling license.
"Once the application is made, we would have a Harrisburg hearing and our staff would look at the financial aspects of the deal. The Board would then vote on the change of control, "said Harbach. Since we already make up a large part of the individual backgrounds, one can say with certainty that the process could be shortened somewhat, but will probably still be a number of months after a petition has been submitted. "
Wind Creek and the Sands see the change of ownership as the final step in the sales process and hope to be able to handle the background review and transfer of ownership in one session, Carr said. 19659019] What You Need To Know About The Indian Tribe Buying Sands Bethlehem
When the sale is completed, the 159,000-square-meter Bethlehem Casino becomes one of Wind Creek's largest locations.
Until recently, Wind Creek only owned three casinos on tribal land in Alabama with more than 2,600 games, but no table games. Today, Wind Creek operates nine gaming facilities in Alabama, Nevada, Florida and the Caribbean. A five-member board of directors oversees Wind Creek and reports directly to the nine-member Tribal Council.
The 3,000-member tribe is the only state-recognized tribe in the state of Alabama that operates as a sovereign state.
] Wind Creek wants the Lehigh Valley to know it's not just a corporate figure, Mothershed said. The track record in Alabama shows that Wind Creek is investing in schools, nonprofit organizations, urban groups and local hospitals in Alabama, said Wind Creek COO, Brent Pinkston.
"We see ourselves as a partner in the community, not just as a business, Mothershed said.
When the sale goes by, the city and the Bethlehem Area School District stand for a cash flow. Assuming that everything is up for sale, the property transfer tax could reward the district and city with up to $ 6.5 million each.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Sara K. Satullo may be available at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @sarasatullo and Facebook. Find lehighvalleylive.com on Facebook.