Last Thursday, the Bethlehem Planning Commission gave the Wind Creek Hospitality the go-ahead to proceed with its plan to change the iconic ore crane sign that bears the name of Sands Bethlehem. The gaming and hospitality business owned and operated by the Alabama Poarch Band of Creek Indians last year revealed its plans to acquire the Sands Bethlehem casino property from Las Vegas Sands, its current owner, for $1.3 billion. While the acquisition is yet to be completed and no specific timelines have been specified since the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board will need to approve it first, the Wind Creek officials are confident that the transaction will close “sometime in the near future.”
Once the state’s gaming control board approved the purchase, Sands Bethlehem will be rebranded as Wind Creek Casino and Resort. The rebranding will include the aforementioned ore crane sign as well as every other sign affiliated with the property. In addition to that Wind Creek also plans to increase of the size of the ore crane sign to 3,880 square feet up from the initial 3,187 square feet. Also, the Outlets at Sands Bethlehem will be rebranded to just “The Outlets” once Wind Creek assumes ownership of the property.
Despite the apparent delay in the completion of the transaction, Wind Creek’s recent announcements and activities mostly involve plans regarding what they intend to do with the Sands Bethlehem property once the ownership is transferred to them. The tribal gaming and hospitality business intends to invest approximately $190 million to materialize its plans to expanded the property.
The proposed expansion of the Sands Bethlehem property will include the addition of an indoor water park and a new hotel – the latter will feature 300 or more rooms in order to meet the growing demand for accommodation facilities in the region. According to Jay Dorris, the chief executive officer of Wind Creek Hospitality, the occupancy at the Sands Bethlehem hotels stands at 90 percent currently. For this reason, once it assumes ownership of the property Wind Creek plans to involve some innovative and unique approaches in order to capitalize on the demand.
With the new facilities Wind Creek plans to add to the property, there will be an additional 400 jobs opportunities – the current 2,100 jobs currently existing in Sands Bethlehem will still be available, so the employees will have nothing to worry about in that regard. Moreover, the company also reportedly intends to renovate the vacant No.2 machine shop site.