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