Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

December 26, 2006

Tropicana Las Vegas Plans Disclosed

Posted by Hunter

We've now got some more detail on what new owner Columbia Sussex plans to do with the Tropicana site in Las Vegas.

The two larger towers and the showroom will remain, though be re-worked. They will join several new towers that contain a boatload of new hotel rooms It's certainly going to be a large complex.

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Read archived comments (15 so far)
December 26, 2006 7:27 PM Posted by detroit1051

An 85,000 sq ft casino seems small for a project this size. Many of these new developments are requesting significant reductions in the number of required parking spaces. The Trop wants to cut back spaces by 30%. More Strip parking problems?
What the heck does this mean? "The elevations are an eclectic design which includes a combination of various traditional elements of design." Leonard, this won't be in the same league as CityCenter!

December 26, 2006 7:39 PM Posted by mike_ch

Er, I don't think it's supposed to be.

Personally I think the southernmost tower should go because it's out there and there's no easy way to get to it, but maybe with a new ground floor layout it'll be more accessible.

Either way, from the get-go this project has been marked as a mid-market development that's not expected to be groundbreaking, and lord knows we need something like that since everyone else is too busy trying to out-luxury each other.

December 26, 2006 7:42 PM Posted by BrianFey

I think the key word here is "Planned". I just really don't see this happening. I think this is like many other plans that have been announced in this town and never happened.

December 26, 2006 8:43 PM Posted by Devon

Wow, no offense to the builders but this sounds like a pretty terrible idea. 10,000 rooms on a property half the size of city center (a pretty dense project itself), just shouldn't be. According to numerous articles published a month ago, the total price will be around $2 billion!!! If they keep that figure (they can't) this place won't even boast the "luxuries" of imperial palace. On a side note, they're going to be halving the origional room count in the paradise and island towers to 900ish from around 1800. Considering that current standard rooms are 350 sq feet(?), they're going to be doubled in size. Now what kind of 3 star joint boasts 700 sq foot rooms? Will the origional towers be turned into the Tropicana's version of a THEhotel??

December 26, 2006 9:21 PM Posted by John

Does that bring up the idea, that the South Strip, or at least, the current southern portion of the Strip, will become more of a mid-markey "corridor"? With this new Trop development, the choice, by MGM Mirage, to keep Excalibur squarely in the mid-market, and having Hooters, New York-New York, and Luxor in that area, it really does seem like this will be the mid-market area, while anything further North, will be, more or less, developed as a top-notch, luxury development area.

December 26, 2006 9:35 PM Posted by Hunter


You don't think this will go down? Personally, I do... C.S., while not a big 'name' operator has a pretty solid track record with other projects in other jurisdictions. I think they'll be able to fund and build this Trop stuff.

As far as Detroit's comment on the casino floor being too small - that is strange. The modern Las Vegas casino floor is right about 100,000 square feet on average, with some hovering around 120,000 so to have this at ~86k is crazu.


December 26, 2006 10:18 PM Posted by mike_ch

Devon brought up a pretty good point. I didn't see the 10,000 rooms.

To give some comparison here:

$2 billion divided by 10,000 rooms = $200,000 a room. Of course, that isn't even considering the cost of everything else, but let's just go with it for the sake of example and keep in mind that the real figure will be less.

Now then:

Mirage: $249,000 of 1988's dollars per room

Bellagio: $533,333 of 1997's dollars per room

Wynn LV: $747,943 of 2004's dollars per room

Using identical math as my first statement, Paris out to $269,204 a room. It's considered one of the most economical resorts and was so since it shares so much operational resources with Bally's.

Am I overreacting here? Please tell me if I am because I'm just hypothesizing, but I thought this would compete with TI/Luxor but now it reads like it's in the Flamingo/Excalibur territory.

December 26, 2006 11:02 PM Posted by Hunter

I've always liked the per/room cost metric but I'm curious where the numbers are coming from in some cases, specifically WLV.

What are you using for cost? I believe the most common cost figure is $2.7 billion, no? That would equate out to about a million dollars per room with 2,716 rooms (inventory changes a little bit with the fairways opening and closing but that's the number they publicize).

December 26, 2006 11:27 PM Posted by Devon

The only reasoning i can reach for this project is that because it has such a high hotel room to everything else ratio, it will come in cheaper. An example would be that a typical four seasons or ritz carlton costs about $150-$300 million and consists of around 300-700 rooms. That breaks down to a per room cost of lets say 75000. But a compatible vegas hotel (wynn, bellagio) cost around 1000000 per room. So my guess is that a huge chunk of the 1000000 goes towards public space construction, and an amound of about 50000 goes into room construction.

Since that sounds way to complicated to read, here's the most logical example.
Bellagio Cost around 850000 per room in 2004 dollars. But the spa tower cost 295(?) million in 2004 dollars or around 310000 per room. The spa tower didn't need to build nearly as much as bellagio did so the cost was so much lower.

Hope that makes any sense!

December 27, 2006 1:01 AM Posted by mike_ch

Hunter: While I used my own (admittedly faulty) math for the Trop and Paris numbers, the others were pulled from

December 27, 2006 6:51 AM Posted by BrianFey


I'll admit I know very little about the new owners, but 10,000 rooms on 34 acres just dosent makes sense, or add up. Its never been done, or even close in LV, and I just don't see it happening. I don't think the numbers will work out for many reasons. I don't think it will get approved. I don't think they have enough parking space, and I don't think they can put together enough money to build 10,000 rooms. I just don't see this plan happening like its been presented. I think something will take shape there, but not to these specifications.

December 27, 2006 12:04 PM Posted by Nick Nak

Well, I hope the project goes through even if it's revised along the way (most likely will be). The strip needs to retain it's availability to the middle market. It's looking like the property owners on the far south end plan to stay in the middle market and that's not a bad idea. Let the owners farther north beat each other up with their luxury arms race. The only thing I'd like to see on the south end is the Excaliber get replaced with something new. It's an eyesore.

December 27, 2006 8:21 PM Posted by mike_ch

Nick, if you destroy Excalibur, you destroy Sir Galahad's Prime Rib house which is my favorite place for prime rib in a city that has a lot of places for prime rib.

Don't worry about Excalibur, it serves it's niche. I'd like to see it remain and for the much-praised Circus Circus steakhouse to come south and replace the Camelot Steakhouse when Circus eventually bites the dust to make room for MGM-Mirage's response to the north strip developments.

December 28, 2006 1:28 PM Posted by Christian

I think there is some confusion with the numbers. I trust Mike_ch's source, . Some of the commentary I have read here is quite insightful.

From what I've gathered, it seems to me that with the rising average room rate in Las Vegas stems from the top-notch boom of the North strip. This idea may seem like Columbia Sussex is biting off too much, but a 10,000 room mid-level hotel and condo area is just what Las Vegas needs. We need to keep the average Joe coming back. North strip seems to forget that.

January 5, 2007 2:33 PM Posted by Christian

An interesting idea is

Tropicana will only have 85.000 square feet of casino space while Project CityCenter boasts nearly double that size with 165,000 square feet for a complex that only has 7000 units, 2 hotel towers of which will not have the casino area in their buildings.

What is Columbia Sussex thinking? With nearly 50% of Las Vegas revenue being accounted for in the 2006 NGC report as gaming, they are setting themselves up for failure. They better be thinking of something to compensate.