by Andy Holtmann
Harrah’s announces $1 billion Caesars expansion
Las Vegas-based Harrah’s Entertainment has announced plans for a $1 billion renovation and expansion of its Caesars Palace resort-casino on the Las Vegas Strip.
The project will become the most expensive renovation and expansion project to date on the Strip, and will ultimately bring the number of rooms at the property to 4,013. Plans call for the property’s sixth tower—the 23-story Octavius Tower-with 665 rooms and 71 suites, including three 10,000-square-foot pool villas. That tower will cost $375 million and is expected to be completed by early-2009. The property’s existing Forum Tower will also see an $83 million renovation.
Also on tap as part of the project is a new 263,000-square-foot convention center, new swimming pools, a significantly enhanced and more spacious race and sports book, new restaurants, new nightclubs and a new, larger front entrance to the resort.
“I think this project demonstrates there is a lot of misunderstandings about [leveraged buyouts] and private equity deals,” Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman said. “The deal is not about stopping growth or stopping activity. As this project demonstrates, we are going to continue to build the company and grow.”
The Caesars project, along with Harrah’s announcement that it will build a $700 million Margaritaville resort-casino with rock star Jimmy Buffett in Biloxi, Miss. have put to rest many concerns that Harrah’s would terminate or significantly scale down new projects in the wake of its $17.1 billion private equity buyout by Texas Pacific Group and Apollo Management.