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Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Las Vegas Jobs with Echelon Hotel and Casino Will Have to Wait

Las Vegas’ economy is tied to the city’s gaming industry. The problem with this is that people’s ability to afford to lose millions in Casinos is directly tied to the economy. Because of this, instability and recession are taking a toll on the city’s most popular industry and effecting the number of Las Vegas jobs (Click here) employers are able to provide.

Recently, construction of the Echelon Hotel- Casino was put on hold due to the slow economy. Boyd Gaming does not plan on picking the project back up for at least a year, meaning that the much needed jobs Echelon would have created won’t be brought to the area fro some time.

“Cleary, as we look at it, we think in the next nine to 12 months--we think in the next three to four quarters--that we will be at a place where we can restart the project,” said Keith Smith, Boyd Gaming’s president and CEO.

According to Smith, the decision to step back from the project had nothing to do with the finances of his company. He citied issues with the smaller investors involved as the reason the Echelon has to wait.

One such partner, Morgan’s Hotel Group was unable to find an institution willing to lend them the funds necessary to build the two boutiques the company has committed to building. Another investor, General Growth Properties, which was in charge of constructing the project’s mall, was unable to get high end stores to agree to long term leases.

“It’s interesting,” said Smith. “When you turn the clock back a year, you could never guessed that we would be in this position a year later.

On August 1st the project was officially put on hold. Over 800 construction workers were told that they would not be needed again for some time now. Already the construction sector in Las Vegas has taken a hit from the housing market slump, which means these individuals will likely struggle to other employment until work on the Echelon is resumed.

The Echelon is expected to create 10,000 jobs when it opens, which Boyd originally planned for 2010. The hotel and casino’s opening is now scheduled for 2011. By then, Smith believes that the economy will have recovered and the funds to finance the rest of the project will be available to the company’s partners.

In the mean time, Encore is planned to open in December and is expected to hire 5,300 people. Project CityCenter, which is expected to open in 2009, is still on schedule and will be creating 12,000 new jobs.


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