Park Place ready to render unto Caesars

May 15, 2001 9:22 AM

Park Place Entertainment says it expects to generate $2 billion in excess cash flow in the next two years. Deciding how to spend a goodly chunk of that does not appear to be a problem.

The world’s largest casino company wowed shareholders Friday with plans to spend upwards of $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 President and CEO Thomas Gallagher, who hosted the company’s second annual stockholders meeting in the cavernous Champagne Ballroom at Paris Las Vegas.

What followed was a thundering sound and video presentation trumpeting the expansion.

The new tower, which will stand at the entrance to the casino at the Las Vegas Strip and Flamingo Road, will contain 900 suites and "mini-suites," bringing the room inventory at Caesars Palace to 3,350.

As currently planned, the tower also will contain 50,000 square feet of retail space, 70,000 square feet of meeting area, new restaurants and a spa.

Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

The theater, a replica of the Roman Coliseum, and appropriately named the Colosseum (sic), will also front the Strip.

Gallagher said that one of Caesars’ shortcomings in recent years - the property has had four owners since 1995 - 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.

He said the expansion will include a spur off the Strip monorail to link Caesars to the Flamingo across the street. Park Place owns the Flamingo as well as Bally’s, next door to Paris.