by Michael J. Shapiro | November 09, 2018
Wynn Resorts has had a change of heart about the Carnivale-themed Paradise Park and lagoon development under construction between the Wynn and Encore resorts in Las Vegas. While plans to open a 400,000-square-foot convention center in the same area remain on track for a January 2020 opening, said president and CEO Matthew Maddox in a third-quarter earnings call, executives decided the now-shuttered golf course actually served the market better than the lagoon theme park would. Wynn closed the original golf course early this year to begin work on the convention center and Paradise Park.
Now, said Maddox, they're making plans to offer an improved golfing experience: "We actually went back and reengaged Tom Fazio, who was the original designer of our golf course, to come in and take a look at the couple of holes that were disrupted by this 400,000 square foot convention center. We wanted to see if we could design a new 18-hole golf course connected to Wynn and Encore -- and have that back in action before our convention center debuts. 
 
"The work has commenced," Maddox added, "and the golf course will be restored and back in action by this time next year."
 
Wynn took a major hit by closing the previous course, Maddox admitted. "Not only did we notice that we lost 16,000 rounds of golf out there, 70 percent of which would have been cash, but we lost probably $10 million to $15 million worth of domestic casino business. People coming in for golf trips decided to go elsewhere."
 
Wynn execs are optimistic about both the restored course and the upcoming convention center, the latter of which will have 200,000 square feet of net rentable space. "We believe that that convention center will add somewhere between 4 to 6 points of occupancy to this hotel, which will allow us to really drive rate in those peak times," Maddox noted. "Because we will be in the low- to mid-90s in occupancy over the full 365 days."
 
A key factor in the decision to scrap Paradise Park was Wynn's December 2017 purchase of 38 acres of land across the street from the Wynn Resort -- the former site of the New Frontier, and more recently the intended site for a now-scrapped property from Australia-based Crown Resorts. "It's a far superior site to the off-Strip location of the golf course," Maddox said, meaning it would be a more ideal location to build the next great thing from Wynn.
 
Just what form the next great thing takes won't be revealed for quite some time. Maddox said a two-year design-and-development project for the site will begin next year.