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Malaysian company plans multi-billion dollar casino project on Vegas strip


LAS VEGAS » An Asian conglomerate says it will break ground next year on a long-stalled project that could help revitalize a dilapidated section of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Genting Group announced today that it is buying the site where Boyd Gaming Corp.’s partially built Echelon project has gathered dust for four years.

Genting says it will build a multi-billion dollar casino, its first in Las Vegas, on the 87-acre site.

The “Resorts World Las Vegas” project will feature 3,500 hotel rooms, a convention center and a 4,000-seat theater.

Echelon is one of a handful of high-profile multibillion-dollar projects that has stalled out indefinitely on the Las Vegas Strip since the economy crashed.

The partially-built complex on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip was to be a mixed-use development complete with 5,000 rooms in six hotels, lush landscaping and luxury amenities.

The 48-year-old Stardust resort was demolished in 2007 to make way for the $4.8 billion project, which was slated to open next to Circus Circus by 2010.

Construction workers toiled for a year and built 12 stories on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Desert Inn Road before the credit markets choked and Boyd Gaming Corp abruptly put the enterprise on hold.

The north Strip is also home to the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, a hulking bluish-green tower that was 70 percent completed when the construction workers were dismissed, and the Sahara hotel-casino, which went dark in 2011, and only recently began renovations.

The northern part of the tourist corridor used to boast casinos considered the pinnacle of luxury and style, but has fallen into disrepair in recent years.

The Genting Group said it plans to break ground on the new project in 2014, and open in 2016, creating tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity to showcase what has made the Resorts World brand a globally recognized success for the past several decades,” CEO KT Lim said in a statement.

Officials are expected to release additional details during a morning press conference.

The conglomerate already operates casinos in New York state, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and the Bahamas.

It opened its first casino in 1971, in Malaysia.

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