Forbidden City Resort Could Bring Pandas, Cricket Fighting to Las Vegas Strip

We get giddy when we hear about new Las Vegas casinos in the works and this one’s a doozy. We’ve got the inside scoop on a proposed $5 billion Asian-themed resort called Forbidden City Palace Casino and Hotel Resort.

Forbidden City seems to have flown under the radar, but it’s an ambitious project its developers claim “will set the standard for excellence in Las Vegas.” Now, that we’d love to see!

Here’s a look at Forbidden City, a resort that will “bring unparalleled examples of Chinese architecture with feng shui principles” to the center of the Las Vegas Strip.

Forbidden City Palace Casino Hotel

The standard for excellence in Las Vegas isn’t going to set itself, people.

Exciting, right?

Forbidden City is being developed by AEPA, “a limited liability corporation under the direction of its President, Alfred Liu.” According to the project’s promotional materials, there are also Chinese companies involved to “carry out the plan, including experienced developers and material manufacturers.”

Forbidden City is an ambitious project, to say the least. The array of proposed attractions and amenities are stunning.

The “unique and spectacular offerings” include “Royal Weddings,” “Cricket Warfare,” “Cultural Integrity,” “Exotic Experiences, a giant panda habitat and Entertainment Center.

Naturally, “Cricket Warfare” and giant pandas jumped right out at us.

First, “Cricket Warfare.” The developer says, “Once the exclusive game of the Emperor, cricket fighting has been a popular sport in China for centuries. Watch the drama unfold and the tension build as powerful fighting crickets square off when AEPA brings this popular, imperial gaming sport to the Forbidden City.”

AEPA, PETA. PETA, AEPA.

Next, pandas. Everyone loves pandas!

Pandas

People love pandas so much there was actually a show at Palazzo called “Panda.”

Apparently, the aforementioned Mr. Liu knows a guy. The resort’s proposal says, “Mr. Liu’s strong relationship with the former Governor of the Sichuan Communist Party has created the exclusive opportunity to bring the giant panda to the Forbidden City. A proposal submitted by the Sichuan provinces is pending before the State Council.”

If you’re in China and looking to get a great table in a packed restaurant, everyone knows you drop this line to the hostess and you’re golden: “Good evening and please be aware I have a strong relationship with the former Governor of the Sichuan Communist Party. Thank you.”

Interestingly, a competing Asian-themed resort, Resorts World, once proposed a panda exhibit, but dropped the idea when it got what experts call “a clue.” That means Forbidden City will have the only pandas in Las Vegas. Take that, Resorts World.

So, what else do we know about Forbidden City Palace Resort?

Well, as mentioned, Forbidden City will be located in “the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.” Check out the site plan, below.

Forbidden City Las Vegas

Unless you get pandas and fighting crickets, your luck is about to run out, Lucky Dragon.

It’s hard to tell from the site plan, but two of our astute blog commenters, Graham and Denver Gambler, have noted Forbidden City could very well have its eyes on the Rock in Rio site (owned by MGM Resorts) at the corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd.

Forbidden City

It may as well be the Rock in Rio site, as Rock in Rio won’t be using it.

That would be an expensive piece of real estate, but the developers of Forbidden City have no doubt taken everything into account as they put together their financing.

Speaking of financing, it sounds like Forbidden City is going to have no problem finding the estimated $5 billion needed to complete the project.

The developer says, “All construction materials will be fabricated in China and assembled by AEPA’s experienced workers in Las Vegas. The favorable wage and quality service provided by skilled Chinese craftsmen lowers the construction cost and improves the efficiency of the project.”

Made in China, assembled in the U.S.A. We’re curious to know how the pandas are going to feel about that.

Anyway, we love everything about the proposed Forbidden City Palace Resort, from the Performing Arts Center with a 1,600-seat “symphony theater” to food carts with “Shanghai, Cantonese and Beijing delicacies” roaming the casino floor.

Forbidden City casino Las Vegas

Fireworks were invented in China during the Tang Dynasty, an era which would later inspire the name of a powdered drink popular with astronauts. Millennial translation: Long story.

Does Forbidden City sound like a whimsical project? Sure. Is Resorts World, despite all the hoopla surrounding its groundbreaking, all that much further along in its construction? No.

Take a look at the full Forbidden City proposal (.doc format).

And if you think Forbidden City is out of the realm of possibility, why are indexes of upcoming construction listing it?

It’s time Las Vegas finally had a Forbidden City. A few years back, a similarly-named project, Dynasty Forbidden City, was proposed, but failed. Another failed resort, Xanadu, planned a Forbidden City restaurant. No go. Resorts World says it will have a Forbidden City Retail District. We’ll believe it when we see it.

Thanks, by the way, to eagle-eyed sleuth and loyal reader Deena E. for pointing us in the direction of the Forbidden City Casino project.

And to the developers of Forbidden City, we share the words of Arthur O’Shaughnessy, or possibly Willy Wonka, “We are the music makers and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

It’s worth noting that later in O’Shaughnessey’s ode are less-known words, “With wonderful deathless ditties, we build up the world’s great cities. And out of a fabulous story, we fashion an empire’s glory.”

The glorious empire that is Las Vegas was built by dreamers, so dream on, Forbidden City, dream on.

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  • briguyx

    This was so out there in the first few paragraphs that I had to check if it was April 1st and you were publishing one of your April Fool’s satires…

  • Graham Moody

    Looks to be the Rock in Rio site.

    Judging by the Word doc (for a $5B development?!) I’m not holding out hope for this one, but fair play to them for dreaming big. Makes me think I should have a go at this resort development lark; Scott, are you in as my marketing man? (full disclosure: I don’t have any former governors of the Communist Party on speed dial)

    Still think RW will deliver by the way. And is Donald going to buy the Alon site for his casino?

  • George Dixon

    does anyone know if they are accepting reservations yet?

  • DenverGambler

    That plot looks like the Fontainebleau site, not Alon

  • Rooster

    Man….this looks a LOT like the Fountainebleau plot…

    • Truth. Finally got around to look at the satellite view, and I’d updated the post!

      • Rooster

        Isn’t that site owned by MGM?

        • Scott Roeben

          That’s the one. It hasn’t turned into the venue they thought it would, so could definitely see them selling it.

    • Backtracked. Looks like it’s Rock in Rio.

  • RustyHammer

    Will they serve casserole? If not, then I’m not interested.

    It’s casserole, bitch!

    • You, sir, are a casserole referencing machine.

      • RustyHammer

        Giordano’s must be shamed for all of eternity!

        • Scott Roeben

          Yes, yes it should. I tried another Chicago-style pizza, and I think Giordano’s is a typical version of a not-very-good pizza.

  • Lose the Pandas and Cricket fighting…and I will be interested…lol

    • Photoncounter

      Add Panda fighting and fried crickets and I may be interested. Would even be worth paying to park to see Mixed Martial Panda Arts!

    • Rj Aznir

      I have always wanted to see a panda in person, but I agree. Pandas should be in the wild unless they need to be kept.

  • Tony Crawford

    Will the hotel have 5 year old Chinese children making Nike’s also?

    • Photoncounter

      Only if the SEIU can successfully organize them.

  • Davendish

    Wow! If only. It would be like the mother of all theme resorts on opium. I was also wondering about a late April Fool’s joke with that artist’s rendering and your imaginative flourish (cricket fighting sounded suspiciously Kafkaesque). If it did happen, it would have to have at least one craps table, right?

    • Scott Roeben

      It might be a joke, but not the fake news kind. We’ll see if it amounts to anything, but I suspect not.

  • Mike L

    One giant Asian-themed super hotel at a time please!

    • Scott Roeben

      From the looks of the Resorts World site, Forbidden City could end up being the one. “)

  • Carrie LeBlanc

    Over my dead body will pandas be appearing at a Vegas casino. Bring it. I will make it my life’s mission to make sure this does not happen!

    • Scott Roeben

      Wish somebody would invest that passion into something that’s not only much more likely, but which is already happening–the dolphins at Mirage.

  • LasVegasDJPros

    Will it have a Chinese military parade of tanks, missile carriers and marching soldiers through the its Tiananmen Square every hour on the hour as its freebie show?

    • Scott Roeben

      Not going to lie, that would be awesome.

  • Anne Thompson

    Good luck trying to build it without local Union labor. It will never happen.

  • William Wingo

    With all due respect…I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Scott Roeben

      Right there with you!