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Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas giving $5K bonuses to each employee

Updated May 11, 2022 - 9:03 pm

With its multibillion-dollar sale in the works, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas gave each of its employees a welcome surprise Wednesday: a $5,000 bonus.

Bill McBeath, president and CEO of the hotel-casino, made the announcement in The Chelsea theater, a 40,000-square-foot venue at the Cosmo that was packed with workers for the company event.

The crowds erupted with cheer as purple confetti came down and a band onstage played Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic.”

The bonuses, which are being given to all of the Cosmopolitan’s estimated 5,000 employees by its owner, New York financial conglomerate Blackstone, arrive amid a competitive labor market and as the flashy resort prepares to come under new ownership.

Tyler Henritze, head of strategic investments for Blackstone Real Estate, said in a statement that the firm is “incredibly proud of what we accomplished at The Cosmopolitan,” and “none of that would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the resort’s amazing employees, and we are thrilled to recognize those contributions.”

The Culinary Union, which represents workers at numerous Las Vegas casinos, released a statement applauding Blackstone’s announcement that it will give nearly $30 million in bonuses to the Cosmopolitan’s workforce.

“It’s the right thing for a company to share a portion of their profits with employees who have worked so hard to make the property successful,” Culinary Union Secretary-Treasurer Ted Pappageorge said in a release.

Blackstone announced in September that it is selling the Cosmopolitan for $5.65 billion, nearly $4 billion more than its purchase price several years earlier. As part of the deal, casino giant MGM Resorts International is acquiring the Cosmopolitan’s operations side for more than $1.6 billion and will pay initial annual rent of $200 million to the new landlords.

The pending sale marks the next chapter for an upscale property on the Strip that opened during the worst recession in decades and was initially stuck in the red.

New York developer Ian Bruce Eichner broke ground on the Cosmopolitan during the frenzied mid-2000s real estate bubble. But the economy soon soured, and project lender Deutsche Bank foreclosed on the partially built resort in 2008.

The German financial giant finished construction and opened the property in late 2010. The Cosmopolitan proved a trendy gathering spot but lost an average of almost $100 million per year from 2011 through 2013, a securities filing shows.

Blackstone, which had already kicked off a real estate buying binge in Southern Nevada after the market imploded and property values collapsed, acquired the Cosmopolitan in 2014 for $1.73 billion.

The Cosmopolitan’s total development costs had exceeded $4 billion, and Blackstone spent around $500 million in improvements, the firm previously told the Review-Journal.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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