Tower power!

Apr 19, 2005 6:22 AM

The Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino (formerly the Aladdin) has announced a joint venture with Westgate Resorts to build a 52-story luxury vacation ownership tower directly connected to its property on the Las Vegas Strip.

The $400 million development will include over 800 two-bedroom suites that will increase the capacity at the resort by allowing unsold residences to be added to the existing hotel room inventory, bringing the total to over 4,000 rooms.

The new tower, which will be located on the Southeast corner of the complex, is being designed by the architectural firm of Klai Juba, the same group collaborating on the conversion of the Aladdin into the Planet Hollywood resort.

The 52-story blue glass tower has been designed in a manner to compliment the overall theme of the complex. Construction is slated to begin later this year, with the first suites being made available by New Year’s Eve 2007.

Westgate will immediately begin operating sales locations inside of Planet Hollywood and will construct a 12,000-square-foot sales gallery on the mezzanine level of the hotel to market the project.

Westgate Resorts, the world’s third largest developer of timeshare properties, first entered the Las Vegas timeshare market in 2000 with the development of Westgate Flamingo Bay located on Flamingo Road two miles west of Las Vegas Blvd.

The rapid sell-out of that project will exceed $160 million and has provided Westgate with a firm foothold in the highly-specialized Las Vegas market, according to David Siegel, the company’s founder, president and CEO.

"With over 8,000 employees and 24 resorts throughout the United States, our company has experienced phenomenal growth in the last several years," Siegel said. "Of the myriad of development options available to us, we feel that Las Vegas, and in particular Planet Hollywood, affords our project opportunities for success unparalleled elsewhere.

"This will be the world’s first vacation ownership resort that is directly connected to a major resort hotel and casino complex complete with over 12 restaurants, luxury resort amenities, as well as a full service shopping mall with over 140 stores," Siegel continued. "We believe that this fully self-contained resort environment will provide our 350,000 timeshare owners vacation experiences unavailable anywhere else in the world."

Planet Hollywood Resort Co-chairman Robert Earl said adding timeshare units will "dramatically increase" traffic into the hotel, as well as enhance the overall casino experience.

"I could not be more pleased to be working with David Siegel, a pioneer and visionary in the tourism industry," Earl said. "One very beneficial component to this project, unlike other vacation ownership projects, is that Westgate will build rooms well in advance of its sales, which will dramatically increase our hotel room inventory.

"This announcement, coupled with our recent announcement outlining our new relationship with Clear Channel, demonstrates our commitment to create a truly world class competitive destination in Las Vegas," he said.

Last year, the Aladdin was purchased by a group consisting of Earl, founder and CEO of Planet Hollywood International, Bay Harbour Management and Starwood Hotels & Resorts.

The property, which adjoins the Desert Passage shopping complex, will continue to operate as the Aladdin during the extensive renovation process, which is scheduled for completion in the second half of 2006.

Upon completion of the renovations, the property will be re-branded and renamed the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino and will become part of the Sheraton hotel chain.