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After Dusk and Darkness, Dust for Bourbon Street

14 February 2006

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- By the time you read this, the closed Bourbon Street should be nothing more than a pile of rubble.

Harrah's Entertainment planned to implode the Bourbon Street's remaining eight-story hotel tower at 2:30 this morning, almost four months after shutting down the small East Flamingo Road casino.

The company has spent the past few weeks tearing down the low-rise portions of the building.

Harrah's bought the eight-acre Bourbon Street site and some surrounding properties last year for future development. The casino giant owns more than 130 acres along the east side of the Strip, which includes Harrah's Las Vegas, the Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Bally's and Paris Las Vegas.

Harrah's wanted to minimize attention toward the implosion, scheduling it at a time when very few people would be out on the Strip. The company didn't announce the implosion publicly until Monday morning and discouraged public attendance.

Flamingo Road was expected to be closed between the Strip and Koval Lane for much of the early morning.

"Because of the location of this property, there will not be any unobstructed, safe views for members of the public," Harrah's spokesman David Strow said.

The implosion was the second this year of a closed hotel-casino; Station Casinos imploded the old Showboat-Castaways on the north end of Boulder Highway last month. It's expected that MGM Mirage will implode the Boardwalk Casino, which closed in January, although no time has been set.

The small Bourbon Street, with 166 hotel rooms, had entertainer Wayne Newton among its original owners. The casino, however, spent much of its existence in and out of bankruptcy. By the time of its closure, the casino had consisted of just 100 slot machines managed by a slot route operator. More than 100 employees lost their jobs when the casino closed.

Harrah's officials have said the company is looking at a master-plan concept for the east side of the Strip. Removing the Bourbon Street gives the casino operator development options, the company has stated.

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