Photo of the Circa Resort still under construction with problem projects label

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but when the first new ground-up resort to be built there in decades — which is also the city’s first-ever adults-only resort —  is hit with over $50 million in construction debt, word spreads.

Right off the Vegas strip, the Circa Resort and Casino is a modern resort boasting all the amenities and luxuries that tourists might expect, including 777 rooms and suites, a two-level casino, a nine-story garage, a multilevel stadium-style sportsbook, and even a multi-tier “pool amphitheater.” Billed as Vegas’ first “adults only” resort, it features multiple bars and lounges — including Nevada’s longest indoor bar, which spans 165 feet.

The resort began its initial concrete construction work in April of 2019, with crews from multiple partners — including general contractor McCarthy Building Companies and construction manager Tre Builders — and the resort was already cited as a “$1 billion project” at the time of commencement. 

Despite any setbacks arising from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Circa finished its first phase of construction and officially opened to the public in October 2020.

Unfortunately, the construction of this grand resort has faced numerous financial setbacks, including a whopping $54 million construction lien (also known as a mechanics lien) filed by GC McCarthy Building Companies. 

According to the lien affidavit filed on February 26, 2021, McCarthy’s original contract with Circa property owner 18 Fremont Street Acquisitions, LLC, their original contract for work done on the costly resort was $452,500,000, plus additional work and materials valued at just over $57 million. 

McCarthy’s $54 million lien was not the only lien Circa faced: Another 10 mechanics liens have also been filed, totaling close to an additional $20 million. Four of these liens are valued in the millions — with the largest lien of $10.4 million coming from SME Steel Contractors, Inc. 

GC McCarthy is also on the list of additional liens, with a prior $1.7 million lien. The other two largest liens come from Bergelectric Corp. with a claim of $5 million, and a $1.2 million lien filed by TAB Contractors, Inc. 

All these liens were filed via the Clark County Clerk’s office in line with Nevada’s mechanics lien laws

As of time of reporting, McCarthy’s $54M lien has been partially released, with a remaining balance of $1 million. After two additional lien amendments and one full release, the Circa property is still facing multiple smaller active liens.

Despite the payment disputes and financial setbacks, McCarthy Vice President Jeff Wood had positive things to say about both the developers and the Las Vegas construction community in regards to completing such a massive project during a pandemic. 

“Completing construction on a resort of this scale in just 22 months during a pandemic is a testament to the talent and capabilities of the construction professionals within our community,” Wood said.

“Working collaboratively with the Circa developers and owners, Derek and Greg Stevens, as well as with all of our expert trade partners enabled us to effectively refocus resources, reevaluate priorities and rework the construction schedule to find a path that allowed for us to deliver the project within the modified schedule. It took an incredible amount of planning, coordination, and buy-in from every individual who stepped foot on this jobsite.”