Case Studies

Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino – The PENTA Building Group

A collaborative approach to building the first Asian-themed Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas

Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino will be Las Vegas’ first casino resort designed from the ground up to create an authentic Asian cultural and gaming experience. This $85 million project will feature a nine-story, 203-room hotel with a two-story casino and six-story parking structure and will be located on the Las Vegas Strip.

The general contractor for the Lucky Dragon project is The PENTA Building Group, a nationwide company that manages locations in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix; Palm Desert, California; and Reno, Nevada. “The success story of the project so far has been the relationship that we have established with the owner and construction manager, Lucky Dragon LP and Grand Canyon Development Partners,” says Paul Dutmer, project manager for PENTA. “We’re taking a very collaborative approach to prepare for any issues before they even arise.”

Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino – The PENTA Building Group

Groundbreaking for Lucky Dragon took place on April 20, 2015. With a projected completion date in October 2016, the timeline for the project is rather aggressive for a facility of this nature. Challenges presented during the design and construction phase have included city reviews and permitting that did not move as quickly as initially anticipated, as well as the tight quarters of the 2.6-acre lot, which is surrounded by restaurants, apartment buildings and a condominium tower. “It’s a very small area that we have to coordinate within,” shares Dutmer. “It has presented quite a challenge when it comes to delivering materials and things of that nature.”

Dealing with the tight space for the construction of Lucky Dragon was an aspect that was anticipated by PENTA and its subcontractors. By conducting daily meetings with construction crews, the team has been able to coordinate deliveries days in advance. “By addressing the issues before they happen we are able to figure out where everything will go and what the best times are for certain materials to arrive,” Dutmer explains.

PENTA has also instituted a ‘good neighbor program,’ which helps to restore strategic adjacent properties to help out the surrounding community. One example is that PENTA restored a handicapped elderly man’s home that was in need of repairs. This included landscape touch-up, fixing his car port, installing a concrete handicap ramp for access, and repainting and cleaning the exterior of the home. “Helping to get buy-in from the adjacent community for this project has really led to the success we have achieved. The surrounding community has embraced the project and feels it brings nothing but positivity to the area,” states Dutmer.

Strong partnerships

With the ability to self-perform all of its own concrete work, PENTA reached a milestone in September 2015 when it topped off the hotel tower. “It really symbolized the success of the project and meant we could now move forward with the exterior,” recalls Dutmer. “That’s always a good time for a project to be able to celebrate where you and your team are at.”

In addition to concrete work, PENTA also self-performs rough carpentry and door frames and hardware. For the trades the company does not perform in house, PENTA conducts a strict prequalifying process for each potential subcontractor. Once prequalified, a sub will become part of PENTA’s “master bid” list. “We have a list of folks who we invite upfront to bid on the project,” says Dutmer. “We then do some narrowing down during the bidding process and take the lowest bidders and move forward with them. Usually, the company that is awarded the job is one that started with our budget in mind and may have even helped us with the budgeting on the project.”

With the collaborative approach that PENTA is taking with Lucky Dragon LP, there are non-tangible aspects that the company also looks for when partnering with subcontractors. Completing high-profile projects such as Lucky Dragon requires a certain type of comradery that is not easily measured. “In addition to talent and reliability, you’re also looking for people who fit the mold as far as vision and personality goes,” says Dutmer. “We create an environment where everybody’s input matters. You can bounce ideas off of each other to ultimately come up with the best solution.”

Setting the bar

PENTA was founded in May 2000 by Jeff Ehret, Ken Alber and Blake Anderson. Since its inception, the company has established itself as one of the leading private general contractors in the nation. The company has been honored with many prestigious awards including “Contractor of the Year” by the Las Vegas Chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America and “Entrepreneur of the Year” by In Business Las Vegas.

Dutmer joined the company after graduating from college and receiving a degree in construction management. Spending his entire professional career in the construction industry, Dutmer began in the field as a laborer while still in high school. He eventually became a carpenter and entered into management in the commercial sector after college.

With projects like Lucky Dragon, PENTA adds to its ever-expanding portfolio of hospitality venues. Upon completion, Lucky Dragon Hotel and Casino will become a mainstay of the local economy as it will draw a fair amount of tourism from Las Vegas Boulevard.

Published on: September 20, 2016

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