Bethlehem planning officials approve change of the ore crane sign of Sands Bethlehem ahead of the casino’s sale to Wind Creek Hospitality
The Bethlehem Planning Commission gave Thursday the green light to a proposed plan for a change of the iconic ore crane sign that bears the name Sands Bethlehem informing visitors that they are approaching the entrance of the Bethlehem-based casino.
Wind Creek Hospitality presented the plan to planning commissioners Thursday afternoon and the name change was approved.
Wind Creek Hospitality is the gaming and hospitality business of Alabama’s Poarch Band of Creek Indians. News emerged last year that the tribe would buy Sands Bethlehem from its current owner, Las Vegas Sands, in a $1.3 billion deal. The transaction is yet to be completed as it needs approval from the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board. Wind Creek officials told WFMZ that they cannot provide a specific timeline on when the deal will be closed, but they “suspect that it will happen sometime in the near future.”
If the purchase is given the nod by Pennsylvania’s gambling regulator, Sands Bethlehem will be rebranded as Wind Creek Casino and Resort. All signs at the property, including its ore crane sign will be replaced with new ones that will reflect the change of ownership.
As part of the rebranding, Wind Creek will increase the square footage of the ore crane sign to 3,880 square feet from 3,187 square feet. The Outlets at Sands Bethlehem will be renamed as The Outlets after the tribal hospitality business assumes ownership.
Wind Creek Hospitality announced earlier this year plans to expand Sands Bethlehem. The hospitality company will invest $190 million to materialize its expansion project that will include the addition of a new hotel and possibly an indoor water park.
The new hotel at the property will feature 300 rooms as demand for accommodation has been growing rapidly in the region. Wind Creek Hospitality CEO Jay Dorris has said recently that occupancy at Sand Bethlehem’s existing hotel currently stands at around 90%. The company will look to break ground on the new accommodation facility immediately after it finalizes the property’s acquisition.
The new facilities at the casino resort will employ nearly 400 people when fully operational, in addition to Sands Bethlehem’s current 2,100-person workforce, Wind Creek Hospitality has said.
The company is further considering renovation of the vacant No.2 machine shop site. The development of a water park has been among the opportunities discussed by the property’s buyers for that portion of the land surrounding the existing resort.
Las Vegas Sands launched Sands Bethlehem at the site of the former Bethlehem Steel power plant in 2009. Reports about the property’s sale had floated around for several years and rival MGM Resorts International had been among its rumored suitors. It was last spring when it was eventually confirmed that the Poarch Band of Creek Indians would buy the hotel and casino resort.
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