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Buyers to invest $190M in Sands Bethlehem, change name

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Officials with Wind Creek Hospitality visited Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort this week. Wind Creek agreed to buy the Bethlehem property from Las Vegas Sands Corp. in a $1.3 billion deal. From left are: Brent Pinkston, COO of Wind Creek; James Dorris, president and CEO of Wind Creek; Arthur Mothershed, vice president of business development for Wind Creek; and Brian Carr, president and COO of Sands Bethlehem.
Officials with Wind Creek Hospitality visited Sands Bethlehem Casino Resort this week. Wind Creek agreed to buy the Bethlehem property from Las Vegas Sands Corp. in a $1.3 billion deal. From left are: Brent Pinkston, COO of Wind Creek; James Dorris, president and CEO of Wind Creek; Arthur Mothershed, vice president of business development for Wind Creek; and Brian Carr, president and COO of Sands Bethlehem. - (Photo / )

While Wind Creek Hospitality waits for regulators to OK its purchase of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Wind Creek officials said they plan to invest $190 million in a new hotel and redevelopment project on the property.

And, once the deal closes, Wind Creek would rename the casino Wind Creek Bethlehem.

The name change would affect all branding and buildings with the Sands Bethlehem name.

Officials from Wind Creek visited the Bethlehem casino this week and shared details of their plans for the property during an interview Tuesday.

Last year, Wind Creek Hospitality of Alabama announced it would buy the Bethlehem resort from Las Vegas Sands Corp. for $1.3 billion. The sale includes the casino, event center, shopping mall, hotel and several surrounding vacant properties. Wind Creek is a privately held affiliate of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, which operates six casinos, tracks and poker rooms in Alabama, Florida, Nevada, and the Caribbean.

In the interview, James Dorris, president and CEO of Wind Creek, said his company plans to redevelop a building on the site known as Machine Shop No. 2.

The building, owned by Sands Bethworks Retail, is the closest building to the casino and the largest vacant structure on the land at more than 300,000 square feet. The building once was eyed for a Bass Pro Shops retail store.

“We are well aware of local desires to see the site bought back,” Dorris said. “It’s something we are actively exploring to see what we can do. We are exploring what we think can make sense.”

Wind Creek also would like to add a 300-room hotel that would connect to the existing Sands Hotel.

Brian Carr, president and COO of Sands Bethlehem, said there is a need for more hotel space at Sands. The current hotel has 282 rooms.

“I can definitely see those numbers growing short term,” Carr said. “There’s already proven demand.”

The name change will happen shortly after the close of the sale, which they said could be completed in the first quarter of this year.

“We agreed to do that within 90 days of the close, that’s part of the purpose of the meetings today … to identify every one of those spots to change to Wind Creek Bethlehem,” Dorris said.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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