Steve Wynn will establish a hospitality school in Macau as part of his effort to recruit and educate workers in the Chinese city.
Wynn, chief executive officer of Wynn Resorts Ltd., the developer of Le Reve on the Las Vegas Strip, has begun the process of hiring managers for both the Macau and Le Reve projects.
“The whole human resources program is the heart and soul of the company’s future,” Wynn said in an interview with the Las Vegas Sun last week.
Wynn announced earlier in the week that he had hired Arte Nathan, who he regards as “the most qualified HR professional in the world” to begin finding people to move to Asia.
“He pioneered the paperless human resource office,” Wynn said of Nathan, who helped him open several of Wynn’s Las Vegas hotels, including The Mirage, Treasure Island and the Bellagio. “He’s the only guy who has opened up that many properties.”
Nathan is among several former Mirage Resorts Inc. employees Wynn is expected to hire for his Le Reve and Macau projects. Robin Farley, a Togel Singapore gaming analyst with UBS Warburg, said MGM MIRAGE, which was created when MGM Grand Inc. bought Mirage Resorts Inc. for $6.4 billion in 2000, has acknowledged that Wynn may seek some of his former associates for his projects.
“Steve Wynn indicated that some employees will come from MGM MIRAGE, even commenting that Kirk Kerkorian (owner of a controlling interest in MGM MIRAGE) and he have an understanding that Wynn will hire a number of his former workers,” Farley said in a report issued today. “However, we note that MGM MIRAGE has tied up many of its key employees with long-term contracts that contain non-compete classes, including Bobby Baldwin, whose contract extends until 2006.”
Wynn knows that it will take a special type of employee to take on some of the challenges presented by Macau, formerly a Portuguese colony on the South China Sea.
“The rank-and-file will be Chinese,” Wynn said of the approximately 2,500 people who will be hired in Macau. “But many of the leadership roles will be filled by people here that we’ll be recruiting. Some are looking at it now as a wonderful adventure.”
Developing a school is part of the plan to make the environment more enticing and Wynn said he would be working in conjunction with a college in Macau to establish classrooms to teach hospitality courses for employees.
Wynn’s casino project in Macau will be developed in two phases with the groundbreaking of Phase I expected in April. The first phase, which would include 110 table games, 350 slot machines, three restaurants, a food court, a 500-seat showroom, retail space and a spa, is expected to open in the second quarter of 2004.
The company expects to begin Phase II shortly after Phase I is completed. The second phase, which includes construction of 600 hotel rooms, a larger casino and more nongaming amenities, is expected to be completed in May 2005 — about a month after Le Reve is due to open.
Wynn explained that the timetable is set and wheels are in motion for construction on Le Reve.
“You’ll start to see the high-rise coming out of the ground in January,” Wynn said. “We’ve already poured the foundation for the garage and we’ve got a cement plant on site to avoid traffic problems. The trucks will stay on our property.”
Wynn said once construction is at full speed, contractor Marnell Carrao would be able to build at a rate of a floor a week for the 45-story tower that would include 2,700 rooms. The $2.4 billion project is the most expensive of Wynn’s undertakings.
The building itself will be a departure from Wynn’s earlier structures.
“The high-rise will be curved,” Wynn said. “It’ll be a 730-foot-long arc. Take a look at the Rio and you’ll get a rough idea of the degree of curvature. Only our building will be quite a bit longer so you’ll notice the curve a lot more.”
The curve feature will give guests views of the entire property, which is on 212 acres at the former site of the Desert Inn hotel-casino. The rest of the property will have the Strip’s only 18-hole golf course in addition to a mand-made lake. The Las Vegas Boulevard frontage will incorporate a man-made mountain.
A three-story structure will house the property’s 111,000-square-foot casino, which will include 136 table games and 2,000 slot machines. The casino also will have private gaming salons, a race and sports book, a keno lounge and a poker room.
The lake will be visible from the hotel registration desk and guests will be able to view what Wynn has described as “canvasses” from restaurants, rooms, the front desk and the property’s nightclub.
Wynn said the project is a “classic construction project” with design taking nearly two years to complete.
“First, you do the design work,” he said. “Then, from Memorial Day to October, we put the financing together. The construction now has been turned over to Marnell Carrao.”
About 200 people were on that payroll when ground was broken on Le Reve Oct. 31. When the property opens, it will provide 8,000 jobs.
Analysts are enthused with Le Reve’s prospects, particularly because its location is between two of the city’s largest convention centers.
“In the past decade, Las Vegas has continued to improve its position as a leading convention and business meeting destination,” said a report prepared by researchers at Bear Stearns, New York. “In 2001, Las Vegas was the top trade show destination in the U.S. in both show net square footage and number of shows (according to Trade Show Week).”
Located near both the 2 million-square-foot Las Vegas Convention Center and the 1.2 million-square-foot Sands Expo Center, Le Reve is expected to be attractive to conventioneers during midweek periods.
“Given Le Reve’s prime location between the Sands Expo Center and Las Vegas Convention Center, combined with significant informal business meeting space, we expect that it will be a top choice for business meeting and conference planners, which should yield much greater midweek demand for gaming and nongaming amenities at the property,” the report says.