May 12, 2001 9:37 PM

The world's largest casino company unveiled plans Friday to spend $515 million to $550 million to expand Caesars Palace with a third hotel tower and a 4,000-seat theater.

"I tell you we've got everything we need to continue to lead this industry," said Park Place Entertainment President and CEO Thomas Gallagher, who hosted the company's second annual shareholder meeting at Paris Las Vegas. He then introduced a multimedia presentation trumpeting the expansion.

The new tower, which will stand at the entrance to the legendary casino at Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, will contain 900 suites and "mini-suites," bringing the total number of Caesars Palace rooms to 3,350. As currently planned, the tower also will encompass 50,000 square feet of retail space, 70,000 square feet of meeting area, new restaurants and a spa.

The theater, a replica of the Roman Coliseum and appropriately named the Colosseum (sic), will also front the Strip and will be linked to the tower and the rest of the property with a walkway and a connection to the Strip monorail at the Flamingo casino across the street, also owned by Park Place.

The company also plans to remodel 600 of the hotel rooms at Caesars.

Gallagher said that one of Caesars' shortcomings in recent years, when it was passing through three separate owners, was its failure to capitalize on its location at the Strip and Flamingo Road, Las Vegas' famed "four corners" and the busiest tourist intersection in town.

"We're going to bring the property forward, literally," Gallagher said. "We're going to link all our properties at the four corners together."

On the east side of Strip, across from Caesars, Park Place also owns Bally's Las Vegas in addition to Paris, which is next door to Bally's, and the Flamingo.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer, Gallagher said. The target date for completion of the theater is early 2003. The tower is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2004.

Park Place shares closed Friday up 1 cent to $11.91.