Harrah's delays opening its 665-room tower

Jan 13, 2009 5:06 PM
by Ray Poirier | As a further sign of the declining business in Las Vegas, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. announced Monday it will delay the opening of the 665 new rooms at the almost-completed 23-story Caesars Palace Tower called Octavius.

The tower was topped off in October and was scheduled to open this summer as part of a $1 billion expansion at the Las Vegas Strip casino.

Harrah’s said it would delay the opening until there was a stronger demand for hotel rooms but would go forward with the opening of other parts of the expansion. This included 110,000 square feet of meeting space an expanded pool and garden area and three 10,000 square-foot luxury villas. Strong advance bookings justified finishing the new meeting space, the company said.

The delay, it was felt, would not result in additional layoffs, the company added.

Prior to this summer, the company said it planned to complete work on the exterior of the building but leave the interior unfinished. Without setting a timetable, the company said it was prepared to open the new tower rooms whenever demand improves.

Harrah’s Entertainment, now privately owned, is the world’s largest gambling company by revenue. It owns or manages 50 casinos in six countries. For the first nine months of 2008, the company reported a loss of $415.1 million.

Following Monday’s announcement, it was noted that just a few days ago, MGM Mirage Inc. (MGM) and its partners announced that it was reducing the size of the Harmon Hotel as part of the massive CityCenter project.

Cut out of the 400-room Harmon were some 200 condo units. The announcement came following the disclosure that there had been some construction problems with the facility.