PENTA Building Group – Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino

As a general contractor, the PENTA Building Group is leading the effort to complete the latest addition to the northern end of the famed Las Vegas Strip. Though leading, the company is taking a collaborative approach to the Lucky Dragon Resort & Casino with the client, designers and trade partners as it works towards a successful completion of the project. 

“This project is not about us ruling with an iron fist,” Project Manager Paul Dutmer said about the project that broke ground in the Spring of 2015. “It is about getting everyone together to collaborate and talk about durations, schedules and getting the right information out to subcontractors.” 

As part of the firm’s approach, PENTA is applying lean  construction methodologies. One of the lean approaches PENTA is applying with subcontractors is a “pull plan scheduling” system. 

“Typically, the general contractor creates the schedule, passes it out to subcontractors and tells them to meet it,” Dutmer explains. “With this system, there’s an end date set, and we talk to subcontractors about how we’re going to get there by creating a path to certain milestones and getting commitments on what subs can do to help us achieve those.”

The project is also kept on track through weekly work plans completed by subcontractors to help them organize and strategize their work. 

“As a company, PENTA is committed to applying  lean principles to our company as a whole,” Dutmer said. “We feel it creates better relationships with subcontractors and with owners. Instead of a hardline approach, we’re creating a collaborative atmosphere where everyone’s input truly matters – which is how we have been doing work for a long time.” 

In addition to its work with subcontractors, PENTA is working closely with developer manager Grand Canyon  Development Partners and property owners Lucky Dragon LP through every step of the project. 

“One of the biggest things that is making this project a success is our relationship with Grand Canyon, their relationship with the owner, and the three of us working together collaboratively to solve any issues that come up,” Dutmer added. “Everyone is working to help out so we hit the budgets we need to hit, make our schedules and get information to everyone up front so we don’t have to do a lot of rework.” 

An Asian Icon

One major milestone on the project was reached in fall 2015, when the concrete structure of the nine-story hotel tower was topped out. Crews are now performing framing and drywall installation work as well as installing the building’s curtainwall exterior. Work on a parapet on the top of the tower as well as the building’s roof was anticipated to begin in December. The tower will be fully enclosed and waterproofed by late January 2016, Dutmer says. 

When it opens its doors in August 2016, The Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino will offer 203 rooms as well as a two-story, 100,000-square-foot podium that includes restaurants and a casino with roughly 650 gaming positions. The site also includes a six-story parking structure. The hotel is connected to the podium by a sky bridge that extends over the property’s entry drive.

The property will offer an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience to visitors. Lucky Dragon’s dining options will range from high-end restaurants to noodle bars and high-end dim sum to tea cafés, all catering to the Asian market. The hotel rooms and spa combine China’s rich ancient culture with modern-day luxury and amenities. On the gaming side, The Lucky Dragon casino will feature games such as baccarat and pai gow that are popular in China as well as private, Feng Shui-designed gaming parlors. 

One of the most striking features of the building, designed by EV&A Architects, is its exterior curtainwall glazing, which is colored ruby red. 

“To get this particular color of red, we went through  several dozen testing samples,” Dutmer noted. “Once the sun hits it, it will be a bright red that will be hard not to see.”

The casino interior will feature several Asian-themed statues and elements. Sidewalks just outside of the building will feature a granite paving system that mimics the look of dragon scales. The building’s exterior will also include statues and other elements befitting the hotel and casino’s theme.

Community Partners

PENTA’s collaborative approach to the project extends beyond its construction and development partners. The contractor worked closely with Grand Canyon Development Partners and city planning officials to re-categorize the land as a single parcel, as it was originally designed to be phase two of the adjacent Allure Las Vegas condo project. Several lots were sold to Lucky Dragon LLP to develop the hotel and casino. 

“It was a challenge to get the land remapped and get the permits through to proceed with construction,” Dutmer said.

Once work started, crews faced difficulties related to placing concrete in the Las Vegas summer heat. Several pours were completed in the early morning hours, creating the additional challenge of operating noisy equipment close to residents and businesses just north of the property. Area residents also faced construction-related inconveniences related to material deliveries to the site. 

“We have a big neighborhood involvement campaign related to this project,” he adds, noting this includes going door-to-door to nearby homes to pass out gift cards with “we apologize for the noise” messages. 

For one neighbor, a physically handicapped man, PENTA crews built wheelchair ramps and helped with upkeep on the man’s home. 

“We want the neighborhood to buy in to the project,” said Dutmer. “We are  making sure it is as easy for them as possible during construction, and we want to do things for them that mitigate any disruption to their daily lives.”

Joint Efforts

This project is the latest in a long line of hospitality/casino-related projects for Las Vegas-based PENTA, which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary. In addition to its Vegas roots, PENTA’s other offices include Los Angeles, Phoenix,  Palm Springs, Calif.; and Reno, Nev.

“These types of projects are really our bread and butter,” Dutmer said, noting the company has completed projects with  close to $4 billion in total value during its history. “We are drawn to these projects, and those that present similar challenges, in the markets we’re in; this is what we’re good at and what we have a lot of experience in.”

Dutmer attributes the company’s staff is its biggest asset. “We are set apart through our company culture, which instills the right attitude and ethics into our people,” he said. “We hear all the time from the subcontractors we work with that we are the best people to work with. We are very in tune with making sure our subs are well taken care of, because they are the ones who truly make our projects tick.”

The Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino is the latest collaboration between PENTA and Grand Canyon Development Partners. The companies’ other joint efforts include a production studio for Scientific Games Productions LLC and the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s on the Strip. 

Grand Canyon Group of Companies is a one-stop shop for clients comprised of three companies with the expertise to develop successful projects. The company primarily focuses on work in Nevada, California and Arizona. Grand Canyon Development Partners is a full-service development and construction management company providing experienced leadership and expertise to real estate developers, retailers and contractors throughout the Southwest. 

The Grand Canyon Consulting Group offers management and training services to help its clients overcome challenges facing the opening of any project. Grand Canyon Construction offers a variety of construction-related services, including procurement, retail tenant coordination and LEED certification management. 

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