Caesars renders unto itself more construction projects

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LAS VEGAS -- Whoever said Rome wasn't built in a day wasn't kidding. Caesars Palace here is abounding with new construction projects, ranging from hotel rooms and meetings space to restaurants and retail stores aimed at reinventing the 37-year-old property.

"With the new tower and the other new attractions planned or under way, we'll become the first major Las Vegas resort to completely remake itself -- without using dynamite," said Mark Juliano, the property's president.

Caesars Palace is undergoing a complete revamping of its property, with several projects underway and several more in the works over the next few years. What follows is a listing of several major improvement projects that have been finished in the past year or are in the works:

The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The 4,100-seat theater, which opened in March, is home to the Celine Dion production, "A New Day." On nights when Dion did not perform, the venue welcomed other top names in entertainment, including Jerry Seinfeld, Tim McGraw and Gloria Estefan.

The Roman Plaza. Located atop a recently constructed, 500-bay, underground parking garage at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo Road, the plaza will serve as a type of welcome area to visitors who are entering the property. The plaza, which will offer a range of dining, retail and entertainment outlets, is slated to open during the first half of 2004.

New Forum casino entrance. Serving as a bridge that connects the old with the new, this sweeping gateway to the Forum casino, set to open by year's end, will connect the new Colosseum with the property's porte cochere entrance. The area will include high-tech slot machines that surround an aquatically themed bar.

Revamped porte cochere. The historic porte cochere that has welcomed visitors to Caesars Palace since 1981 will be renovated with Corinthian towers, similar to those on the Palace Tower.

Expanded Forum Shops. By next fall, the Forum Shops at Caesars, already one of the highest-yielding retail spaces in North America, will grow to a total of 675,000 square feet. A three-level, 175,000-square-foot expansion, which will extend the venue out to the Strip, will include more upscale specialty retail stores as well as several restaurants.

Restaurant additions. Bradley Ogden, the namesake restaurant of the San Francisco-area chef, and the Cypress Street Marketplace both debuted in March. Early next year, New York chef Bobby Flay will take his turn, opening Mesa Grill at Caesars Palace.

Hotel guest-room renovation. It's been ongoing, but since 2000, the property has completed a major renovation project involving 600 rooms, primarily in the Roman Tower.

In addition, the resort erected an electronic/video marquee in February and opened a high-limit slot salon in May.

To contact reporter Amy Baratta, send e-mail to [email protected] .

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For more details on this article, see Hotel tower to crown $376M Caesars expansion.

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