Harrah’s New Orleans Casino Pitches New Hotel Plan as Part of $350-Million Upgrade

302

Harrah’s New Orleans Casino announced Wednesday plans to build a second hotel at its existing site at New Orleans’ Canal Street. The addition of the facility will aim to meet growing demand for accommodation at Harrah’s.

Local news outlet NOLA.com|The Times-Picayune reported that the hotel will feature 340 luxury rooms and will come on top of Harrah’s existing hotel, which originally opened doors in 2006. The new facility will look to attract leisure visitors rather than convention and business activity.

Owners of the gambling venue will have to receive approval from both local officials and state lawmakers to build its planned 24-story hotel at its New Orleans site. The hotel venue is part of Harrah’s previously pitched $350-million plan to upgrade its facilities.

Aside from 340 rooms, the new hotel would also include a 20,000-square-foot event facility, a rooftop pool and bar, a gym, and a spa, among others.

Harrah’s also plans to upgrade existing facilities and to add new facilities at its casino site. New food and beverage and entertainment options will be available, if the plan is approved. The addition of the 35,000-square-foot Fillmore Theater music venue will be included in the expansion effort. The facility is planned to be located on the casino’s second floor. New Orleans officials have been calling for the addition of the theater for several years now.

There will also be certain exterior improvements, including the replacement of the current signage with digital marquees and signs as well as upgraded landscaping.

Expected Benefits from the Expansion Project

According to preliminary forecasts, the addition of the new hotel and the other upgrades at Harrah’s could generate around $13 million in various payments to the state, including the additional amount of $1 million in gambling taxes.

Construction of the hotel and the rest of the new facilities is expected to generate around 600 temporary jobs. Once complete, the expanded hotel and casino complex would create 500 new full-time jobs, analysts believe.

Harrah’s officials told local media that the project is still in its early stages and that more details will emerge later this year. It is also important to note that a bill on the proposed expansion should be submitted to the state Legislature. A piece will likely be tabled later in 2018. According to local media, Louisiana House Speaker Taylor Barras has previously indicated that he could sponsor such a bill.

Aside from the planned expansion at its hotel and casino site, Harrah’s will also be seeking to extend its casino contract beyond 2024, when it is set to expire. The operator will also look to have existing restrictions regarding food services at the casino floor lifted.

It is believed that another amendment will be requested, one that would allow individuals under 21 to access the second floor of the casino where the Fillmore Theater would be located. At present, Harrah’s casino floor can only be accessed by people aged 21 and over.