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Asian-themed casino planned in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS — Panda habitats, tea gardens, and red pagodas have never been part of the visual vocabulary of the Las Vegas Strip. But Sin City is about to get all three and much more as a Malaysian conglomerate prepares to build the first new mega-casino to come to town since the recession wiped out a slew of projects in 2008.

The Genting Group said Monday that it will break ground in 2014 on the 87-acre site where the partially built Echelon project has sat for nearly five years, put on hold by Boyd Gaming Corp.

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Executives said they are launching the project despite continued softness of gambling revenue here because they are ideally positioned to capitalize on the flood of Asian tourists flocking to the Strip.

Government officials, including Democratic Senate majority leader Harry Reid and Governor Brian Sandoval, applauded the news, saying the project could breathe new economic life into a tired stretch of the tourist corridor where several big casino projects stalled in the recession.

‘‘I think we’ve turned conventional wisdom on its head today,’’ Sandoval said, adding that he hopes the project would encourage more foreign investment in the Strip.

Genting, Southeast Asia’s largest casino operator, will rebrand the languishing structure Resorts World Las Vegas.

Genting paid $350 million for the property and will spend as much as $7 billion building on it, according to the company’s senior vice president of development, Christian Goode.

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