Wind Creek offers more details as Sands casino sale approaches

It has been more than a year since Las Vegas Sands Corp. announced a plan to sell its Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem for $1.3 billion to Wind Creek Hospitality.

The deal is still not final.

But it may be moving closer to completion.

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, which has to approve the deal, is expected to review it at a May 29 board meeting in Harrisburg.

Wind Creek plans to build a hotel next to a planned adventure/water park on Sands property in Bethlehem if the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board approves the deal. This northeast view shows the former Machine Shop No. 2 building where the new development would go. (Submitted) –

As regulatory approval inches closer, Wind Creek offered more details on its plans for the property. They include an adventure/water park with a hotel next to it.

Magi Thomley Williams, public relations director for Wind Creek, said the company is declining interviews until the transaction closes. But some of the details are included in a document filed with the gaming board.

Wind Creek, a privately held affiliate of the Porch Band of Creek Indians of Alabama, filed the document to address how it would boost gaming revenue, adhere to underage gambling compliance and provide details on its redevelopment plans.

Wind Creek is buying the casino, the event center, the outlet mall, a hotel and several other vacant buildings at Sands. In January, it announced a plan to build a 300-room addition to the property’s existing hotel, which has 282 rooms.

According to the latest document, Wind Creek believes it can best compete, particularly against future casino expansion in New York, by improving the Bethlehem property. A new hotel and water/adventure park would accommodate more gaming customers for extended stays and draw people who want to experience the park.

The water park would spread out over 300,000 square feet and feature 105,000 square feet of water attractions plus several food and beverage outlets. It also would include space for activities such as rock climbing, ropes courses and zip lines, as well as a hotel.

Costs were not disclosed.

In the document, Wind Creek also said it would like to create non-gaming amenities in a building known as Machine Shop No. 2, which is close to the casino, covers 300,000 square feet and is the largest vacant structure on the property.

According to the plan, it would house a spa with fitness center and a pool and a five-bay lounge for meetings or ceremonies. Its design would incorporate the history of Bethlehem Steel, which occupied the site before it became a casino in 2009.

Wind Creek said it plans to start construction on the hotel and Machine Shop No. 2 once it receives approval to acquire the property.

Alex Michaels, president and CEO of Discover Lehigh Valley in Allentown, said he is looking forward to working with Wind Creek to help promote the site.

“That hotel would definitely be an asset to the community,” Michaels said.

The adventure and water park also will help make the area a more attractive place to visit and could bring more families, he added.

Wind Creek operates six casinos, track and poker rooms in Alabama, Florida, Nevada and the Caribbean. It also runs a greyhound and horseracing track in Mobile, Alabama.

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.

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