Inside Wynn Paradise Park

A Model Analysis

Posted by Chuckmonster

Wynn Paradise Park Analysis

On Wednesday April 6th, 2016, Steve Wynn, Chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts announced to investors a plan to "reinvent Las Vegas" by redeveloping a portion of the Tom Fazio designed golf course into a 1,000 room hotel and convention center that overlook a massive white sand beach and "crystal lagoon." The lagoon - designed in conjunction with Chilean biochemist turned real estate developer turned crystal lagoon technologist Fernando Fischmann - would feature waterskiing, swimming, paddle boating, water shows and fireworks displays every night.

Las Vegas has everything. Within the all encompassing everything, there is one thing that Las Vegas has lost... it's iron clad grip as the king of casino gambling destinations. From convenience stores to riverboats, fantasy sports to Facebook, gambling - in one form or another - is omnipresent. What does a city do when the major activity that set it apart from every other tourist mecca has been co-opted by every Cabazon, Canandaigua and Cripple Creek?

Kneecap casino game odds, pile on hospitality fees and build more non-casino attractions.

"The Big Baby"

16 months ago Steve Wynn told the Las Vegas Sun "while I'm alive, I will never, ever develop the golf course." He made this statement approximately three months after letting the former New Frontier property be bought at auction by his former employee and ex-nephew Andrew Pascal, fellow Macau casino concessioner James Packer and Oak Tree Capital.

Between then and now, something has changed. Steve asserts that the mix of battling governmental bureaucracy and big budget creativity in Cotai and Boston Harbor forged a diamond idea...

Wynn Paradise Park
...that golf course, surrounded by meeting rooms and that lake is once again the opportunity to reinvent Las Vegas. Las Vegas has everything... except beaches. It doesn't have an ocean, it doesn't have beaches! [Slams hand on knee] so we decided to do it! Use our latent asset - the golf course.

With Las Vegas currently roaring - 43 million annual visitors, 800,000 per week, 117,000 per day - Wynn sees an opportunity to create a spectacular non-casino experience that 10,000 preferably rich, clean and beautiful people will pay $25-50 per day to enjoy. The eye of Steve's mind sees his San Tropez meets Disneyland where he is Caesar.

Exo-reality distortion field, I see the pool at Mandalay Bay, a fireworks show and a quaint reminder of an 80's music video. Does anyone else remember when a big Wynn announcement commingled with waterskiing?

All that being said, any possibility of carrying my skeleton through a Roger Thomas-designed boutique hotel liquifies my aquifer.

The Plan

Wynn Paradise Park Siteplan

To the north, a 1000 room boutique hotel with attached convention center. To the south a drive up porte cochere (and probably a ticketing desk) with access via Sands Ave. Also a pumphouse, where the ultrasonic chemistry developed by lagoonist Fernando Fischmann will keep Steve's giant lake/pool clean. The north and east sides will feature white sand beaches dotted with palm trees and cabana tents. A wooden boardwalk will ring the whole deal... 7/8th of a mile round trip.

The Lagoon

Wynn Paradise Park Villas

The lagoon will extend right to the edge of the Wynn Fairway Villas, finally giving Steve & Andrea's dedicated fans the opportunity hurl roses, vegan chocolates, design advice or applause at the royal couple as they enjoy an expertly prepared tofu scramble in the morning light. No doubt we'll see photos of the Wynns casting loving gazes at sunset or chomping stogies with Warren Buffet, Ron Popeil, Bill Gates and the Dalai Lama as fireworks double glisten upon the shimmering Lake Weinberg.

Wynn Paradise Park Islands

The center of the lake will feature a sandy beach island - which will offer dual function as chillaxation station by day and fireworks launch pad by night. Motorboats will zip around the island towing water skiers and rescuing marooned drunks.

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Comments & Discussion

Prediction: The island will be only for the richer of the rich people. For the ones that don't want to hang out with merely the wealthy, but the super wealthy. Or if you want to shell out another $50.

Thanks, Chuckmonster! Great analysis.

Have you read Christina Binkley's book "Winner Takes All"? Check out page 270. Wynn described Paradise Park to the author ten years ago, but he said then that he would build a number of waterfront resorts. "Not high-rise. Medium-rise."

I agree with most of Chuck's points. Especially the declaration that sensual anal penetration is difficult with a nearby physical plant spoiling the mood.

My first reaction to this deal on Wednesday was "What the hell, Steve?"

But if you see 10-20 years in the future, maybe a giant pond make sense as the centerpiece/courtyard if (no, when) the entire golf course is developed into a variety of large resorts. The 4,500 rooms that Wynn currently has could eventually push 10,000. In that scenario, I can see this making more sense. And maybe that's the scenario in which I can see the benefit and vision here.

Short term, next 3-5 years...I don't thunk this will be a big deal. Not sure this will ever be a long-term, recurring destination for anyone other than those staying at Wynn's resorts. It will be handy for them, and they can charge that crowd whatever they feel like it. But for others? Too many other competing "beach areas", whether it be luxury pool areas at other resorts in Vegas...or the natural beaches already near the homes of a good number of his guests from warm coastal areas.

I listened to the call. I pored over the renderings. I sarcastically compared it on the Five Hundy group to Mars World, although this will actually be built and find moderate success. Something, though, just didn't seem right, and after your well-considered breakdown of those renderings, you nailed it.

Today's minor internet uproar over "Nobody likes being around poor people," will be forgotten by next week, which is good: this project will bring a lot of (comparatively) poor people to the Wynn property. Caesars' "Garden of the Gods" pool is $20 for non-hotel guests. Flamingo's Go pool is $25. Mandalay Bay requires non-guests to rent a cabana. I think it's safe to assume that Paradise will be the new "best" pool in town, and if it really does bring in 10,000 people a day (which I doubt), most of them, relative to Wynn's typical clientele, will be "poor" -- in the range of what the LVCVA just described as the typical Vegas visitor.

Wynn threw out a lot of brand comparisons in his call, but in the final analysis, this isn't Hermès or Chanel. It's Golden Nugget and Disney.

This will not be a water park, it won't even be a swimming pool. The marketing hype is doing a good job at conjuring up a fantasy, but the reality will be nothing like it.

Wynn's Lagoon was announced as 38 acres. Bellagio's lake is a mere 8 acres. The entire pool area at Mandalay Bay (pools, beach, lazy river, cabanas, outdoor stage, bars, dining) is 11 acres all-in. Wet'n'Wild is something like 25 acres all-in. The "The World's Largest Swimming Pool" (Crystal Lagoon at San Alfonso Del Mar in Chile) is probably the closest comparison to the vision being presented. However, even it only claims to have 20 acres of water surface, of which only a tiny portion is actually maintained for swimming.

There's absolutely no way they can maintain a 38-acre contiguous body of water to Clark County's swimming pool health & safety standards. If you consider the fact that Wynn's also implying that gasoline-engined powerboats are going to be zipping around it all day long, the idea of people actually swimming in there gets even more absurd.

In reality, this will be something to look at, stroll around, dine by, and maybe experience some very basic recreational boating experiences at $100/hr. The only swimming will be done by hotel guests in those rectangular pools at the base of the tower, or possibly in a small area designed to look as though it's part of the lagoon while actually being a completely separate body of water.

If looky-loos show up with their bathing suits looking to spend $50 to swim at the Wynn, they'll be politely redirected to Encore Beach Club. That is and will continue to be Wynn's only public "Water Park".

Why can't this Paradise project be both mass-market *and* exclusive? While the lagoon aspect probably will attract the crowds (hence its separate entrance), I doubt those folks will be welcome within the hotel. Speaking of which, the hotel is the answer to what's starting to look like a boutique trend on the Strip: Mandarin. Cromwell. Alon. Paradise.

Also, I'm glad this write-up is dotted with Atlantic City imagery. That said, nothing can replace the sound and look of actual ocean waves, no matter how enjoyable a bum-free beach and boardwalk would be.

It's nice but how many people do they expect will make it a point to go here instead of any other place on the Strip? The poor people comment was clueless and this development becomes pointless once Alon, Lucky Dragon and Resorts World open. Those automatically become the cool places.

Great write-up and analysis. I'm visualizing the infield of my favorite 1-mile racetrack and I gotta say, a lake ringed by a 7/8-mile boardwalk is pretty damn big. Boating/waterskiing hours would have to be separate from swimming hours -- mornings? -- because no insurance company would permit both simultaneously.

As a guest, I wouldn't be happy with another automatic surcharge slapped on the daily bill but it fits with the goal of bleeding visitors dry whether they step into the casino or not.

Scattered thoughts on Paradise Park. New tower definitely an homage to the original Fontainebleau. I think the project as a whole has a lot of untapped potential (the obvious lakeside restaurants, but I'd also love to see various botanical gardens experiences along the boardwalk excursion). I'm a golfer, but you can tell it's just a matter of time before the course in its entirety is gone. I'm a little surprised the convention area wasn't larger. It's certainly not Sands Expo size or close to it which is what I was anticipating, in other words, size wise it's not a true head count competitor to the Sands convention business. Does Paradise Park move the bar? Yes in the the fact it's a project I expect to see in Dubai or Macau, those cities have long passed Vegas in terms of scale and it's always nice to see Vegas make news. Will it result in a spike in visitors to Vegas? Probably a small effect overall, but more bodies through the turnstiles through the Wynn complex, no doubt.

As far as this project NOT being a direct hit at Alon I wait anxiously for what they come up with. When it comes to Vegas, the visuals hit you first and that's what Steve and Roger are masters at. That sucks you in more than anything. Look at cinder block hotel the Excalibur, drop the phony castle and probably nobody shows up. Resorts that don't have the exterior visuals like Mandarin and Four Seasons hit you with above average service (of course they're beautifully designed, but that design doesn't drive you to them). To me their advantage is that personal touch only small places give you and consequently you feel special walking in them. Although I'm just speculating, based on those preliminary Alon exterior blueprints, I'm guessing the Alon visuals won't draw you in, so perhaps they'll be relying on creating these above average customer service principles like Mandarin/Four Seasons, that personal touch with the challenge of creating that at a larger scale.

Side note, I'm curious if there are any stats on pool size and if it relates to time spent gambling. I wonder if the average Mandalay guest with their huge pool spends more time at the pool and less time gambling versus the average Excalibur guest who uses their smaller pool. I would assume a Paradise Park visitor would spend more time on the lake versus a person that goes the regular Wynn or Encore pools.

If Steve is going to do this, he should go all the way. No half-measures. Replace the entire golf course, not just 9 holes. Build at least four medium-rise hotels around the lake. Create a dancing fountains show like Bellagio's. Build as many wraparound terrace suites as he can. Are the announced plans really set in stone? Maybe there is some misinformation here that conceals the actual extent of Steve's plans?

I don't think this project is aimed at Alon. It seems designed to pull more convention business, pull business from the Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Mandalay Bay and pull more of the party crowd from the Hard Rock.

The crystal lake could become Douchebag's Paradise, moving the club kids out of Encore. Every place in town has pool cabanas. Wynn could be the first hotel to rent party boats. Of course these "boats" would really be just for show, private spots where the rich kids can impress the hookers. Imagine Lake Havasu during spring break.

Steve is over the top. And he has spent too much time listening to his own soft seductive tones. A water park in the Las Vegas Strip already failed. The people who go to water parks often do so for " value" i.e. Families for a full day ( poor people). People with money want a cabana to be separated from the masses. They are gonna prefer EBC to a huge park where the masses envelope them.
And I believe the " classy" clientele that Wynn initially appealed to have ceased to be attracted to Encore where the hotel is subjugated to the needs of EBC by day and nightclubs in the evening. Hell the Emcore casino is dead for gambling. It is just a holding pen for the night club crown. Alon is going to take the "classy" moniker away from Wynn.
And MGM park will benefit from relatively mid strip location and foot traffic that does not exist this far north.
Steve had the most beautiful restaurant in Vegas in " Alex ". That appealed to the middle age wealthy gambler coming to the Wynn hotel for a classy Vegas vacation. Beautiful hotel, upscale service , outstanding restaurants and an excellent gaming experience ( dealers hand picked by Steve). That Wynn resort has died. Now the young living in mom's basement come 4 to a room, hit EBC by day and the clubs by night and get fucked up enough to play 6:5 blackjack, double odds craps, and tighter than a virgins pussy slot machines. If you were drawn to the Vegas vacation of 10 years ago there is nothing here for you. Personally I was much more excited by your interview with Andrew about Alon than about anything in Wynn's press release. Other than Steve's belief that he can still weave magic.
It will be interesting to watch. Personally I am not convinced Macau roars back or that the recent resurgence in Vegas is sustainable / between resort fees, parking fees, 400% mark up on wine and the most expensive restaurants in the company Vegas is rapidly pissing off it's historical user base.
Great analysis by the Chuckmonster- a man on top of his game.

"Steve Wynn obviously loves Walt Disney."

What I went back to when I heard about nightly fireworks shows. It's a very Disney thing: 3/4ths of Disney World's parks have fireworks shows, and Imagineers designed Animal Kingdom with poor sightlines deliberately to prevent future managers from trying to spook the animals with nightly fireworks.

When's the last time anybody set off fireworks on a regular occasion on the Strip? The only similar thing I can think of is Treasure Island's show, which was Steve Wynn aping Walt Disney with a big mechanical pirate show designed by Imagineering legend Bob Gurr. So then...

My non-water-usage thoughts:
1) Nothing for the northeast corner? That canopied non-entrance that used to serve the LVCC monorail station in the years before Encore started being constructed(!) is still out there, and still a butt ugly sight from Paradise Rd.

2) I'm curious how many people want to walk around a great big reflecting puddle of water when it's 109 out there. There's no "there" out there, unless you like golf, I assume the golfers will have carts wheeling them out to the remains of the course. What am I supposed to want to be around this thing for? Jetski and boat rentals? Obviously the connections between a boardwalk and Atlantic City are obvious, and in my mind when I associate jetskis with casinos I think of Laughlin and the couple nights I've spent there. So all in all, it feels like it's reaching for the energy and iconography of destinations people regard as less great than Las Vegas.

I was going to say "rather than bring the river to the Strip, just build Wynn Laughlin" in a tongue in cheek manner, but then I remember that there is a Golden Nugget Laughlin. It even has some of Steve's 80s touches like an atrium with those trees that bend in an S-shape over the walkway, like the ones MGM removed from Mirage and around the edges of Treasure Island. Honestly, if you like Old-Fashioned Steve you should make a trip out there just to see what Steve Wynn on the tighest of budgets actually looks like, before Landry's replaces everything else like they did with the dining.

Maybe Steve has always liked the idea of Laughlin's gambling along the river, but the location is less than ideal and because of that he can't find the customer he wants. I just want to know what I'm paying $20-50 entrance fee for. It better be a little more than a couple volleyball nets and a frozen slushie/margarita stand. But if the recreation activities are coming from the same braintrust that brought us Encore Player's Club, then who knows.

So I had a dream (nightmare) about this place last night. I was walking through Encore over to the new Paradise tower to checkin. And I was surrounded by kids running around with swimming goggles and floaties. I started to get sweaty and nervous and be like "am I at Circus Circus or Excalibur, WTF?!?!?" Then I walked to my window in my room to view lake and it was full EBC style with people. All 10k people per day were in the lake at the same time and it was so loud you could hear it in your room. Just the loudness of people talking, not the bass. I sat on the bed and cried.

Chuckmonster, what is the ideal resort layout, if Wynn decides to remove the entire golf course? Let's pretend you're Steve. You can place man-made mountains, lakes, hotels and convention centers wherever you like. How would you develop the property for optimum aesthetic and practical value?

While I too fear the club crowd too taking over this place, there are at least a few ways to control it. Don't allow anyone to bring their own radios/boomboxes and if you're going to have music play over outdoor speakers Wynn totally controls the playlist, most of us love the standard fare played inside the Wynn casino, namely Brazilian samba, Sinatra type music that soothes the soul. Stick with that and avoid EDM tunes at all costs. Side note, I hope they don't have water jets on the lake, its just begging for an accident when you combine Vegas heat and alcohol. Breaking News Drunk Club Go'er on water jet runs over kid at Wynn Paradise Park

By the way, I just listened to the whole investor presentation and while I'm still a strong believer in this project, when Steve was describing Paradise Park it reminded me a little bit of Dave's Grandissimo book when Jay Sarno was over the top when describing properties to potential investors. Obviously it wasn't Sarno's bathrobe level extreme, but I kinda got a vibe of that in the presentation regardless of the project's validity & potential. Whether Steve's salesmanship did the job, we'll see, naturally I hope it succeeds.

@jucifers Yes, I've read Ms. Binkley's book back when it was released. I've made a note to pull it out and check out the pages you cited. Compelling. This lagoon is huge. If I were designing it, i'd probably go all in on golf course demolition and design the lake as a human scale recreation/vista/canal system, not as a big square lake with water sports and a playa. Ideally, I'd build an ultra-luxe Mansion++ level exclusive resort/casino nestled far away from the noise and chaos. Then I would build a series of smaller hotel/resort/dining/convention buildings along the lagoon system. The closer you get to the main resort complex, the more "mass market" things become. Privacy and exclusivity displayed geographically scale. The different resort neighborhoods would all have different offerings.... a master planned luxury village. If the rollers want to go to the mass casino, they can. If Google wants to block out an entire 100 room mini-hotel for a function, they can. There are a zillion things that can be done on the golf course. I doubt this project will be realized, as is. This is the bare bones idea.... it will evolve.

@Chris77, more than likely, any boats using the lake will be battery powered or man-powered (Maybe he can commission some paddleboats shaped like butterflies.). There's a German boat company that has designed an electric speedboat that looks like a classic wooden speedboat that can attain speeds of 50 MPH.

What this project shows is that Steve Wynn's obsession with water may have reached its' high water mark (no pun intended).

Chuck had me at “Kneecap casino game odds, pile on hospitality fees and build more non-casino attractions.” This is VT writing at its best.
I can’t begin to wrap my arms around this concept. This is either brilliant beyond my ability to comprehend, or it is a cry for help from the Steve. I suppose some French Riviera / Monaco theme can get someone’s creative juices flowing, but I just don’t see or hear that in the narratives. I also agree with the golf course comments. There is nothing wrong with a 9-hole course. But why have it? Where does it fit in this concept? Great point on the netting needed to protect the rich people from golf balls. Look at any Top Golf facility and you will see what Chuck is talking about. As far as the comments about the rich wanting to be only around the rich; that makes me even more motivated to have an over-sized breakfast at Peppermill and then walk down to Wynn to use the bathroom. This will be interesting for sure.

Thanks, Chuckmonster! That sounds awesome. It would be really cool to see what your ideas look like superimposed on a google earth view of the golf course.

Just a wild thought, do you think Steve would ever consider selling Encore to the Alon Group? Steve could offer partial financing. In return, Elaine could drop her lawsuits and Alon could give Steve the New Frontier parcel to develop as he sees fit. Pipe dream?

Here's my latest thought:
If you're Wynn, you've gotta put some sort of show in this thing, right? A fountain show seems unlikely, given that there are going to be gas-engined boats out there during the day, but it is possible. If the fountain rig was recessed quite a ways underwater and mechanically raised up to the surface at night and then lowered again in the wee hours, you could pull it off.

Another option would be to do something like Disney World's water shows. WDW has had an "Electrical Water Pageant" (for the west coasters, imagine a floating Main Street Electrical Parade) that circulates the lagoon circulating between Magic Kingdom, Contemporary, Polynesian, and Grand Floridian. Imagine some illuminated floats that come out onto the lake, circle around and put on a show. A smaller version of "IllumiNations" at EPCOT is probably the best parallel, as Lake Steve is 75% of the size of the World Showcase lagoon.

I feel like Steve can talk up fireworks for now, and probably add some floats out there for your amusement, but long-term, once the other 9 holes are replaced with more hotels, he's gonna want a fountain show. He's going to want to build something larger than the fountain in front of Burj Dubai which presently holds the record for being the largest of this type. That little thing on the corner of Sands Ave shows that he hasn't given up on the idea of water shows in Vegas just as he never did in Macau.

And why not? The Bellagio fountain show has done more for REVPAR than any other investment on the Strip. It's only weakness is that whoever has owned Bellagio has only every had that one hotel while Caesars Entertainment, the Cosmopolitan, etc also drive up their room rates on that fountain show. So make a mega-fountain surrounded by Wynn properties, and move the heart of the Strip north from LVB/Flamingo.

A small but potentially important point... I'm not sure you can even swim in one of these things. Take a look at Crystal Lagoon's marquee project, you have to build pools and barriers off the "beach" areas:

This seems quite a bit less attractive to me.

Wynn could build a beautiful water park on the cheap and with minimum acreage: lazy river pool, wave pool, log flume ride, river rapids ride and maybe a couple of scenic water slides. The crystal lagoon could be modeled after Universal Orlando's City Walk, connecting the Wynn strip properties with water park themed hotels like those at Universal Orlando.

The river rapids ride could combine the look of Disney's Grizzly River Rapids with the fun of Universal Orlando's Popeye and Bluto boat ride. The log flume ride could combine the look of Splash Mountain with the fun of Universal Orlando's Dudley Do-right. Any slides could be built into man-made mountains. If the water park and hotels are developed on the east side of the golf course, casino guest contact with younger guests could be minimized.

Theme parks are a booming business. Young children may not be not a good fit for Las Vegas, but all of these attractions could appeal to many guests in their 20's and 30's.

You wouldn't want to swim in this thing anyway, given that it's large enough to attract waterfoul.

There's actually a suburb in Vegas called Desert Shores that has huge man-made lakes and a community pool that's attached adjacent and looks like it's one of those lakes. A lot of ducks, geese, etc call the lakes home and drive residents mad with their crapping all over the place.

Obviously what Steve's planning is more like a tourist attraction, but the point is you wouldn't want to take a dip, especially if it's just reclaimed wastewater like the features in his past. It would probably be better to build an infinity pool overlooking a waterfall if that's what he was going for.

If people can't freely frolic and get wet, then this lake is essentially Steve's attempt to put Bellagio's fountain show behind a paywall. If that is really the case, his revenue projections are preposterous, I doubt 10k people per day will pay to walk around a lake.

@MinVegas, that brings to mind the manmade "lake" at the Hilton Reno (now Grand Sierra). It has the aesthetics of a sewage-treatment pond these days. I think it's used as a golf driving range, that's about it.

I gotta think a lake with sandy beaches is intended for swimming, not just looking. The water-cleaning technology has come a long way.

Do these numbers sound right? According to wikipedia: the entire Wynn resort is 215 acres; the golf course represents 142 of those acres. If the golf course is 142 acres and crystal lake will occupy 38 acres, that leaves 104 acres for everything else. What would be the best use of that 104 acres?

I'm pretty sure you can do things on this lake. You can do things on Lake Las Vegas. You can do things at the other lake suburb I mentioned (some residents have boat docks in the backyard.) What you aren't going to do is swim out into it. It's more like those Vegas examples or Disney World's various rivers and lagoons (which sell rentals for jetskis, speedboats, parasailing, etc) than it is the hotel pool.

As for the boardwalk itself, who knows what it will offer, especially if it eventually becomes the plaza connecting the Strip facing trio with hotels on the remaining course.

The island at the center of the lagoon is dinky. Steve should consider putting a mountain there instead. The mountain could double as a river rapids attraction. Then, instead of one contiguous lagoon, Steve could break the lagoon into a series of Mandalay Bay style beaches, developing the property in phases when demand is high enough.

The giant electric razor building could be hidden behind a log-flume attraction. Add a lazy river pool, a fountain show and fireworks. Maybe add a boardwalk roller coaster and ferris wheel on the east end of the property, just as placeholders until he's ready to build more hotels there.

Thanks Chuck for another detailed analysis and commentary...very informative.

I remember the first time I stepped foot into the Wynn right after opening...I was in awe and could not get over the luxurious and 'high-class' atmosphere.

With all of the changes occurring over the years, the "different" and uniqueness are gone and Steve is really showing (to me at least) he is only interested in chasing and getting all the $$ he can get...yes, business is to make a profit, but to me the changes are coming at a cost of lowering standards and cheapening the environment.

So the articles that came out in the LV media indicated a 2020 target date for this one.

Has to be asked.....will Alon and/or Resorts World will be open by the time Paradise Park makes its debut?

Look at how many lifeguard tower stations and lifeguards surround & patrol the Mandalay Bay wave pool.
Add those to this rendering.

I'm trying to picture Steve Wynn on the roof of the new lakeside building for his opening announcement video.

Can he resist the temptation make another fun but cheesy video promotion or will he stick to his previous pronouncement : " Next time, we do this in the lobby."

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