After finalizing the $1.3 billion purchase on May 31 and celebrating a $15 million rebrand just five months later, Wind Creek Hospitality, the gaming entity of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians in Alabama, appears to be making good on its promise for a hotel expansion at its newly-acquired Wind Creek Bethlehem property.
According to local news agencies, plans for a new $90 million hotel adjacent to the existing 282-room hotel were submitted to the city of Bethlehem in Eastern Pennsylvania by the new owners on Wednesday.
Plans and timeline:
The expansion would reportedly include a 12-story hotel with 270 guestrooms to be located on the upper floors, along with more than 35,000 sq ft of new meeting space wrapped around the existing Wind Creek Event Center. And in keeping with the new owner’s effort to transform the property into a top resort destination, there are also plans for a nearly 6,500 sq ft pool complete with an outdoor patio and an 11,600 sq ft spa, as reported by NJ Advance Media affiliate, lehighvalleylive.com.
Wind Creek, according to city officials, hopes to break ground on the new development in early 2020, while casino officials expect construction to take approximately 14 months, The Morning Call reports.
New hotel a no-brainer:
Consistently enjoying a 95 percent occupancy rate, expansion of the existing hotel was reportedly an easy decision as additional accommodations and event space will enable the Pennsylvania city to attract larger meetings and conventions.
In addition to the casino, the $1.3 million transfer of ownership from Las Vegas Sands Corp. that the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board signed off on May 29, 2019, included the events center, outlet mall and a good portion of the surrounding property.
Machine Shop project:
A proposal for the redevelopment of the No. 2 Machine Shop into a 400-450 room hotel tower (the property’s 3rd) and a 300,000 square foot indoor water and adventure park is still a work in progress, with a second feasibility currently underway, according to Wind Creek President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Dorris, as reported by lehighvalleylive.com.
Approximately $100 million has reportedly been earmarked for the project by Wind Creek which is seeking a partner to bankroll the remaining $150 million that is needed.
According to The Morning Call, the Machine Shop redevelopment could further enhance the resort’s offerings, with attractions such as ziplines, rope courses and rock climbing, and bring somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.4 million new site visits per year.
The closest casino to New York City with table games, the casino that sits on 124 acres of the former steel and shipbuilding company, Bethlehem Steel, already reportedly enjoys 9 million annual visits.
Multiple attempts to sell:
The acquisition was first announced in March 2018, however, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation had reportedly been intermittently attempting to offload what is one of Pennsylvania’s most profitable casinos since 2013.
That wasn’t the first attempt. In March 2017, the casino and resort company owned by Sheldon Adelson inked a deal that would have seen rival casino operator MGM Resorts International purchase the venue for around the same ($1.3 billion) price. The agreement, however, fell through as the bet would have come with considerable risk, considering the uncertain future of gambling in the Keystone State, with the possibility of New York City legalizing Las Vegas-style casino gaming in the near future.