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Best of Howard Stutz

Gaming Guru

Howard Stutz

Preparations under way for Stardust implosion

22 January 2007

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- If it isn't steel or concrete, it's being removed from the shuttered Stardust hotel tower.

In preparation for the planned mid-March implosion of the 32-story building, construction crews have been busy the past few months removing everything from inside the tower that wasn't already auctioned off.

Most visible to passers-by is the removal of the tower's purple-tinted window glass. From a distance, observers can see straight through several of the upper floors.

Boyd Gaming Corp. closed the Stardust Nov. 1, ending the casino's 48-year run on the Strip. The property is being demolished and will be replaced by the planned $4 billion Echelon Place. The mixed-use project is expected to include one large hotel-casino surrounded by several boutique hotels and entertainment attractions.

The Stardust site, now 63 acres, is expected to grow by 24 acres once a swap of the Barbary Coast to Harrah's Entertainment in exchange for some adjacent land closes.

Much of the property's low-rise buildings will be demolished before the implosion, which is expected to take place in the early morning hours for minimal disruption to traffic along the Strip and Industrial Road. Controlled Demolition of Baltimore, which has handled many implosions of closed Strip casinos over the years, is working with New York-based LVI Services on the Stardust removal.

Boyd Gaming spokesman Rob Stillwell said the removal of items from the Stardust's 1,500-room tower, which the company opened in 1991 as part of a $100 million expansion of the resort, includes everything that isn't part of the steel-and-concrete structure.

"The idea is to minimize as much of the debris from the implosion as possible," Stillwell said. "We're doing what we can to recycle as much of the material as possible. The result is that all that will be left is the steel and concrete."

Stillwell couldn't give an exact cost for removing the Stardust from the Strip skyline, but he said it was "in the millions."