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New Venetian Resort Being Built in Macau

Image Courtesy Las Vegas Sands/ HKS

As if Las Vegas developers weren’t expanding their own city’s offerings quickly enough, now one of them is preparing to build a copy of the Vegas Strip’s Venetian Resort on Macau, a Chinese island off of Hong Kong.

The 10.6-million-square-foot, 3,000-room hotel and casino is being developed by Las Vegas Sands, and like the original, will feature replicas of Venice landmarks like the Doges Palace, the Rialto Bridge, and several famed palazzos. It will be roughly three times the size of the Vegas version. HKS principal Jeff Jensen, whose firm is designing the project along with Wilson and Company, says the complex will be, “like a Venetian on steroids.”

The resort will include over 1,500 feet of retail-lined canal, which is three-times the length of the Vegas version. Its 500,000-square-feet of gaming is five times the area of the original, and the complex will also contain a 15,000-seat arena. Jensen says that his clients chose this tested theme instead of one of the modern designs that many Vegas developers are using. “We said, ‘why recreate the wheel?’”

Macau was once a Portuguese colony, and has long been the center of China’s gambling world, but until recently has been rife with crime and poverty. Developers, mostly from Las Vegas, are hoping to change that by developing the “Cotai Strip,” a line of high-end casinos. which is being master-planned by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill and EDAW (RECORD, October 2003, page 38). The market looks strong. Jensen says that when his client’s Sands casino opened on Macau, visitors literally tore its doors off.

Sam Lubell