Thursday, April 19, 2007

Yet Another Change in Las Vegas

It seems like the only thing that stays the same in Vegas is change. The Aladdin hotel and casino is now going to become the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino.

Hollywood celebrities and superstar athletes turned out Tuesday for a flashy presentation to announce that the former Aladdin hotel-casino would stage its grand opening as the rebranded Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino on Sept. 28 and 29.

"We will be throwing the biggest party that Las Vegas has ever seen," said actor Bruce Willis, who was joined by actress Carmen Electra, Roger Clemens, Pete Sampras and "Sugar" Ray Leonard in introducing the revamped resort.

A $1 billion makeover of the Arabian-style resort has been in the works since private partnership OpBiz bought the Las Vegas Strip bankrupt property in 2004 for about $500 million.

The finished Planet Hollywood property is expected to have 2,600 movie-themed guest rooms and suites, along with two 50-story towers with 1,200 time-share residences, set to open around the end of 2009.

Opbiz co-chairman Robert Earl, who founded the Planet Hollywood International Inc. restaurant chain, also introduced several nightclub and restaurant offerings from New York steak house Strip House to L.A. celebrity hangout and pan-Asian restaurant Koi.

"We scoured the planet and found some great attractions," Earl said.

A touring rhythmical show created by the producers of "Stomp," called "Stomp Out Loud," has opened at the property in a new $28 million theater. Also the property has added a show by magician Hans Klok, who will have Electra as an assistant for three months.

TV newsmagazine "Extra" will open a lounge to conduct celebrity interviews and keep patrons up to date with entertainment news, while Panasonic provided 5,000 plasma displays in public areas and guest rooms.

Last month, investment partnership Boulevard Invest announced that the shops in the attached Desert Passage shopping mall at the property would begin operating as Miracle Mile Shops in May.

OpBiz is a partnership that includes Earl, private equity investor Bay Harbour and Starwood Hotel and Resorts Worldwide. Earl and Bay Harbour Management have a joint venture with an 85 percent interest in the property while Starwood holds the remaining 15 percent.

Las Vegas Sun newspaper is the source for this information.

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