The Poarch Band of Creek Indians has big expansion plans for Sands Bethlehem, awaits regulatory approval to complete purchase
A multi-million expansion is on the way for Sands Bethlehem, the hotel and casino resort that billionaire Sheldon Adelson and his company Las Vegas Sands built on the site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant more than a decade ago.
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News emerged yesterday that the property’s buyers plan to invest $190 million to add a new hotel at the resort and possibly an indoor water park. Wind Creek Hospitality, the hospitality business of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, announced last March its bid to buy Sands Bethlehem for $1.3 billion.
Las Vegas Sands agreed to sell its property to the Alabama-based tribe, but the deal is yet to be finalized, pending regulatory approval. The transaction is currently under review by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board and the involved parties will only be able to proceed with it after receiving the necessary permission from the regulator.
Sands Bethlehem was initially planned to open doors in 2008, but was eventually launched a year later due to delays in demolition and construction work. The property opened with a casino, hotel, and other amenities. Its casino only featured slot machines upon launch.
Later on, owner Las Vegas Sands received a license to operate table games by the Gaming Control Board and added more than 180 tables for poker, blackjack, and craps in 2010.
Wind Creek Hospitality said Tuesday that even though the purchase of the casino still needs approval from local regulators, a plan for its expansion is already in the works. If the deal is approved, the company will spend $190 million on building a second hotel at the site and possibly an indoor water park.
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The new hotel will feature 300 rooms and will aim to respond to the demand for rooms in the area. Wind Creek Hospitality CEO Jay Dorris said yesterday that occupancy at the existing Sands Bethlehem hotel currently stands at around 90%. His company would look to commence construction on the new accommodation facility as soon as possible.
Mr. Dorris went on to explain that they will look to “appeal to a number of different people” and that the property and the site are large enough to accomplish that goal.
Wind Creek Hospitality is also considering the renovation of the vacant No.2 machine shop site. One of the possibilities discussed involves the addition of an indoor water park. Of that plan, Mr.
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Dorris said that they are looking at options to diversify the appeal of the site and that they have earmarked money to pursue the development of a water park.
The executive further pointed out that once their expansion is complete, it will create up to 400 permanent jobs in addition to the existing 2,100 ones.
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