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Call me Ishmael....

Last edit: Dramman on Wednesday, 9th March 2011 2:25 pm
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This is a bit of a ramble, and perhaps a bit of a nutty theory, so I chose to post it here than the blog. Also I want the feedback of more than the seven, brave, curious souls that thumb through MacauTripping occasionally, usually drunk early on a tuesday morning.

The past week I have been digesting a two big podcasts with insights on Wynn and his plans for Cotai. The first was Vegas Gang's DeRuyter Bulter, head Wynn architect. The second was Dr. Dave's interview of Marilyn Winn-Speigel and her impact at Wynn in just around six months.

As for Butler and his talk of buildings "hugging" you, there is some question as to what the building will be, especially the comment that the theme is "vistas" or some thing like that. The Wynn plot is a roughly a rectangle with a chunk out of the southeast corner. On one hand, the "hugging" would be ideal for two spots. First, facing COD's Hyatt entrance and the expected metro stop by there. Second, facing the airport welcoming travelers (I can understand the feeling communicated by Butler every time I flew in to Macau's airport and was inadvertently greeted by the Venetian, pre-COD going up.). Balance this with the "vistas" and you get a different set of priorities. There are two conciliable vistas worth seeing right now. The verdant hill framing a city-scape on the Wynn's north (assuming the COD does not block that out), and then a very, very, slight area that could give a view of the sea minus the airport, oil tank farms, and garbage incinerator/power plant. There is no overlap between the "hugging" and "vista" areas. It seems to me that whatever the final design is, its going to be a difficult proposition to pull everything off the way Wynn claims.

As for Marilyn, like many, I quietly asked "what the hell is she there for." In the interview it seems rather clear, grow the bottom line of the the property al-la Harrahs Entertainment. Sure you can spin this a number of ways, positive and negative. What strikes me after that was "Why?" Why is Steve Wynn so intent about squeezing every last penny out of the Vegas properties?

Those link up nicely, so nicely that it almost preempts further exploration. Steve is doing it so he can get the money for Macau. However, again, "why?" Not "why Macau?", but why is Steve looking to fund the construction with cash flow from Wynn LV? In the past, it seems Steve had, pardon the pun, a Carte Blanche with debt issuers. His credit and reputation was immaculate. Add to this the very low rates in general due to the economy, and it does not make sense why Steve's market rate would exceed his internal capital rate. Unless....

Six months ago, I wrote on Macau Tripping's blog about signs that Wynn might be losing his touch in Macau. To this add a sales pitch for a resort that is seemingly expensive, complex, and perhaps incompatible with the reality of the site. I could see why debt issuers would increase their evaluation of the risk of the Cotai project once all that data is on the table. More risky enough to make internal financing even more crucial.

Yet Steve is Steve. Is Wynn running straight for a cliff and not listening to everyone around him? Is that why he needed to bring on Winn-Speigel? Is that why some are jumping ship? Was that Steve Wynn muttering about a white wale on CNBC's Squak Box last week?

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