COURTESY BOYD GAMING CORP.
Boyd Gaming Corp.'s Echelon, a $4.8 billion hotel and casino complex, is shown in a rendering released yesterday. The company revealed further details about the Las Vegas complex during a groundbreaking ceremony, pitching it as a series of upscale hotels that will cater to high-end clients tired of oversized mega-resorts. CLICK FOR LARGE
Boyd reveals Echelon plans
The $4.8B complex, set to open in 2010, will cater to visitors tired of mega-resorts
LAS VEGAS » Boyd Gaming Corp. revealed further details yesterday about its $4.8 billion casino complex Echelon, pitching it as a series of upscale hotels that will cater to customers tired of the oversized mega-resort.
The company, which operates the California hotel-casino and others, said its research showed customers "often grouse about the waiting and the walking that has become synonymous with these large facilities," said Bob Boughner, Boyd's president of Echelon.
"We've crafted Echelon in a manner that we believe will capture their excitement yet tap into the sense of desire for hotel living spaces that are more intimate," he said.
Each of five hotels on the northern end of the Strip will have separate porte-cochere areas sized to fit hotels from the large, curving, 2,500-room Hotel Echelon to the thin, 350-room Shangri-La.
The other towers include the 640-room Suites at Echelon, and the two hotels developed by a joint venture with Morgans Hotel Group Co., the 860-room Mondrian and 550-room Delano. Each tower has its own pool area and most have their own spas.
COURTESY BOYD GAMING CORP.
Boyd Gaming Corp. unveiled more details about Echelon, a $4.8 billion hotel and casino complex on the Las Vegas Strip, during a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday. The company pitched it as a series of hotels catering to high-end clients. CLICK FOR LARGE
The massive development, which formally began construction yesterday and is to open in late 2010, sits on 87 acres once occupied by the Stardust casino-hotel. Boyd demolished the property, which opened in 1958, in a hail of fireworks in March.
Bill Boyd, the chairman and chief executive, said the company hoped to capture part of the growing market for convention visitors, who have increased at twice the rate of leisure visitors since 1990. He also said the high-end market was being underserved in Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas, as far as upscale properties are concerned, is way behind New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, where probably 30 percent of the total room base is upscale," he said. "In Las Vegas it's only 16 percent. We think that there's a great amount of growth potential in the market."
Some 40,000 hotel rooms are expected to be added in Las Vegas in the next five years, such as at Echelon; at Las Vegas Sands Corp.'s $2.6 billion Palazzo set to open late this year; at Wynn Resorts Ltd.'s $2.1 billion Encore to open in 2009; and at MGM Mirage Inc.'s $7.4 billion CityCenter, also to open in 2009.
Other upscale casino properties set to debut around the same time are the $2.8 billion Fontainebleau, in 2009, and the Plaza, an up-to-$8 billion complex targeted to open in 2011.
Echelon fits well into a crowded construction schedule with the Palazzo, Encore and CityCenter well above ground and Fontainebleau barely started, said Dan Tishman, chief executive of construction manager Tishman Construction Corp. Elad Group has yet to implode the New Frontier casino-hotel to make way for the Plaza complex.
"It's the next new big project in town that's at the starting line by itself," Tishman said.
About 22 acres of the Echelon site will be left mostly undeveloped, serving as surface parking and landscaping while the company assesses how to best use the land, Boughner said. The company added 24 acres to its Echelon site in a land swap with Harrah's Entertainment Inc. for the 4.4-acre Barbary Coast casino-hotel earlier this year.
The property will also have 750,000 square feet of convention and meeting space; a 300,000-square-foot retail promenade; two live entertainment venues of 4,000 seats and 1,500 seats; 30 dining and nightlife venues; and a 140,000-square-foot casino.
Entertainment for the property has not been set, but it will likely include "multiple headliners" with elaborate productions, said John Meglen, president of Concerts West, an AEG Live company that books talent.
"We're three years away but we've had a lot of people that we've spoken with already," he said. "It will be the greatest of the greatest names in entertainment."
Boyd said Monday the cost of the complex increased to $4.8 billion, up from a previously expected $4.4 billion as plans for its retail spaces and hotels were better defined. The project was pegged at $4 billion in January 2006 when it was first announced.