Another bites the dust

Feb 21, 2006 5:47 AM

Last week, Harrah’s imploded the Bourbon Street hotel as part of a plan to redesign and possibly consolidate several of its nearby Strip casino-hotels.

The 166-room, eight-story Bourbon Street had been closed since October, seven months after Harrah’s bought it.

Harrah’s CEO Gary Loveman said the eight-acre site will be part of a project to be unveiled this summer, possibly linking its properties on some 300 acres along the Strip.

"I think that over time, there are other buildings that will come down, but nothing in the immediate future," Loveman said. "We’re not going to tear everything down and build everything fresh. What we’re going to do is be constantly re-creating this space, much like Disney World does."

Since Harrah’s bought Bourbon Street and later the Imperial Palace, there’s been speculation that the gaming giant would level all of its properties (including Harrah’s and Flamingo Las Vegas), and build from the ground up a massive urban center, such as the MGM Mirage’s Project CityCenter.

But sources inside Harrah’s have told GamingToday that hundreds of millions of dollars are earmarked to upgrade the Flamingo and Harrah’s, making their possible demolition unlikely.

Loveman, in effect, confirmed that notion. "That is, I think, a slightly different undertaking than trying to build the world’s umpteenth luxury hotel," he said.

Bourbon Street opened in 1980 as the Shenandoah, and re-branded in 1985 as Bourbon Street.

In recent years, it offered cheap hotel rooms and low-stakes gambling that was close to nearby mega-resorts.