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Gaming Guru

Arnold M. Knightly
 

Groovy going for Eastside Cannery

10 December 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- In a county bulging with new construction projects, another hotel tower might not stand out.

But, when it's the first new hotel tower in 13 years on the Boulder Strip, it's hard to miss.

The steel frame of the Eastside Cannery, which topped off its 211-foot, 16-story hotel tower Friday afternoon, stands in stark contrast to the well-used Nevada Palace it will replace.

"We're on time, we're on schedule and we're on budget," said Guy Hillyer, executive vice president of Cannery Casino Resorts. "We're so looking forward to getting this open and showing it off."

The $250 million project is scheduled to open late next summer with 307-hotel rooms, a 65,000-square-foot casino with 2,000 slot machines and 26 table games. It will also have 20,000 square feet of meeting space, five restaurants, a bingo hall, spa and a pool. The hotel will also have a lounge on the top floor that will overlook the valley.

It will be the first new hotel tower in that area since Boulder Station opened in 1994 and Sam's Town added its 650-room tower the same year.

The new '60's-themed property will compete with those two properties, as well as Arizona Charlie's Boulder, along the three-mile stretch of Boulder Highway directly south of U.S. Highway 95.

Bill Paulos, co-owner of Cannery Casino Resorts, said the downturn in the credit market has not affected the project's construction schedule.

"We're not being affected by this credit crunch, " he said. "The financing has been in place for a while. We're in tip-top shape."

However, the housing market downturn has hit the locals customer base the company draws on for its two other properties: the Cannery in North Las Vegas and the Rampart Casino, which the company operates, in the JW Marriott in Summerlin

"Depending on how housing goes, we could be lingering six to nine months in the quicksand that we're in," Paulos said. "But, there is definitely some silver lining to the clouds. I think, as always, Las Vegas will rebound very well."

The Eastside Cannery management team will be led by Nevada Palace's general manager since 1997, Peter Maksymec.

Nearly 200 employees of Nevada Palace, which will remain open for business with 100 hotel rooms until the new property opens, will be absorbed into the new property's work force.

The company will begin hiring an additional 500 workers early next year.

Paulos is co-owner of Millennium Gaming, which owns 58 percent of Cannery Casino Resorts, with William Wortman. A subsidiary of the investment management corporation Oaktree Capital Management owns the remaining 42 percent.