Friday, May 22, 2009

First Look: Sands Bethlehem

I can't write much right now because I've got to do a few more interviews for my NYT piece and then take a ride with the mayor to get an orientation of Bethlehem, but I did want to post a couple of shots and a promise of much more later. There'll also be a special video episode of The Strip coming and you can hear me in a taped segment on KNPR at around 9:40 a.m. PT at or 88.9 FM.

My initial impressions is that they've done a really lovely job with this place. In sum, they've built a steel-themed casino, see:

More on this later. Gotta run in a sec.

For those of you unaware, Las Vegas Sands (owner of Venetian and Palazzo) is opening today the casino portion of a $713 million project. They had to postpone the 300-room hotel, the convention space and retail because of the financial crunch. They are building all of this on the former ore pit that served Bethlehem Steel, the company that produced the steel that built skyscrapers like the Empire State Building as well as the the railroads and much of the military armaments. The company went kaput in 2003 and left Bethlehem, about 75 miles north of Philly, somewhat desolate.

Sort of. There's more to it than that, but that's all I have time for at the moment. But this is the very definition of a "soft" opening. The 3,000 slot machines are working great, but the bar has no matchbooks? There are so many cars, I'm told, that the company's top lawyer is working valet. Yikes!


V.S. said...

I tuned in late thinking I would miss your report, but it hadn't started. It ran in two parts. The first part started around 9:55 and ended abruptly, almost in mid-sentence. I didn't bother to close the stream. There were staion ID's, random filler-like music, and dead air. Then, at around 10:10 without any intro, your interview resumed, apparently where it had left off 10 min. earlier. It seemed to be confusion between the regular program and the fundraising marathon they were doing.

Anyway, excellent on the scene reporting.

Tom M. said...

Sorry I missed u Steve, I didn't get your tweet back for an hour and I was already on the road. I don't tweet from my phone so I missed you. I took a ton of photos though and will send them to Chuckmonster to publish.