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Las Vegas Sands' (NYSE: LVS ) next development on the Cotai Strip has new partners and a new name. What was formerly known as Sites 5 and 6 will now be known as Sands Cotai Central. Not exactly inspiring, next to its neighbor City of Dreams, but I guess it's an improvement.
The development will house 6,000 hotel rooms, meeting and convention space, two casinos, dining, retail, and a bunch of other amenities, and it should have a bit of a non-gaming feel to it. Unlike properties by Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN ) , Melco Crown (Nasdaq: MPEL ) , MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM ) , and even other Sands properties that focus on the casino, this is a multi-purpose project. The resort will have twice as many rooms and just more than half as much gaming space as neighbor The Venetian Macau.
The newest companies to join the fray, Hilton Worldwide and IHG (NYSE: IHG ) , will join Sheraton as partners in the development. Brands for the four towers will include Conrad, Sheraton, Sheraton Towers, and Holiday Inn.
Hopefully, the Holiday Inn Macau is nicer than a few of the Holiday Inns I've stayed at over the years.
Location, location, location
The site of Sands Cotai Central is in the middle of the development on Cotai. The property sits at the center of the Cotai Strip, next to Melco's City of Dreams and between The Venetian Macau and Wynn Resorts and MGM's proposed developments. At the very least, the hotel will be a feeder for the surrounding casinos.
Las Vegas Sands still dominates Macau, and this development -- slated to open in the first quarter of 2012 -- will only solidify that position. Like the convention center in Las Vegas, which complements the gaming business, Sands is adding complementary services that will grow the overall operation.
The good news for competitors is that they're only a step away. Melco Crown is next door, with MGM and Wynn set to join the neighborhood in a few years. They'll take at least some benefit from the added visitation.
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