Tropicana Las Vegas to Go Tropical with $165M Makeover

The U.S. gaming market has yet to rebound, but Toronto, Ontario-based Onex Corp., owner of Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, is preparing for the recession-weary public's impending return to the tables with the commencement of its massive transformation of Tropicana Las Vegas.

The U.S. gaming market has yet to rebound, but Toronto, Ontario-based Onex Corp., owner of Tropicana Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, is preparing for the recession-weary public’s impending return to the tables with the commencement of its massive transformation of Tropicana Las Vegas. Approximately $165 million will be infused into the first phase of the endeavor, which will convert the Vegas Strip landmark into a South Beach-inspired destination.

The start of the Tropicana Las Vegas rebirth comes less than a year after the property emerged from bankruptcy and came under Onex’s ownership. Developed in 1957, Tropicana Las Vegas occupies 34 acres at the bustling intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Avenue. The property features 1,850 guestrooms, a 61,000-square-foot casino, an 850-seat showroom and a host of restaurants. The initial phase of the renovation will yield South Beach-themed entertainment venues including a 1,000-seat showroom, a 300-seat cabaret style room and a 150-seat bar and lounge, as well as new casino gaming rooms, restaurants and a bevy of additional amenities. “This transformation will revitalize our brand while redefining the ultimate resort experience, bringing the best of South Beach to the heart of Las Vegas,” Alex Yemenidjian, chairman & CEO of Tropicana Las Vegas, noted in a prepared statement.

The first phase of the Tropicana Las Vegas makeover is scheduled to reach completion in April 2011. Timing is everything. While Sin City’s gaming market continues to suffer, industry experts believe a turnaround is on the way. According to CB Richard Ellis Inc.’s Global Gaming Group, same-store revenue for 15 leading casinos along the Strip plummeted 16.6 percent from 2008 to 2009; however, assuming certain economic projections hold, the total Las Vegas Strip gaming and non-gaming revenue is expected to increase anywhere from 3 to 7 percent this year.

The following year should be even better. “We expect 2011 will be a return to growth, so I think Tropicana’s timing is probably very good,” John J. Knott II, executive vice president with CBRE’s Global Gaming Group, told CPE.