Echelon, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America

The US city of Las Vegas defines itself as a city of extravagance, with new hotels and casinos striving to be ever more spectacular than the one before. Echelon, to be built by Boyd Gaming Corporation, is one such project.

The Echelon hotel complex will be built in one phase on the site of the old Stardust Hotel and Casino. It will occupy almost 63 acres of the 87-acre site, and will be built at an estimated cost of $5bn.

Echelon will consist of the Echelon Resort and Casino, which will be owned solely by Boyd Gaming, retail joint ventures and four hotels offering over 5,000 rooms.

Tishman Construction was appointed the project's construction manager and BLT Architects the executive architects.

Echelon construction delay

"Construction of the Echelon project stopped in June 2008 due to the economic slowdown and difficult market conditions."

Boyd Gaming delayed the construction of the Echelon project in June 2008 because of the economic slowdown and difficult market conditions. The project was to restart in late 2009, however, it was postponed for the second time due to Boyd's decrease in profits. The company expects to begin the work in three to five years from 2010.

Due to the delay in construction Boyd, which had assigned $2bn to the Echelon project, will now redirect the investment towards its planned acquisitions. Boyd will require $15m to maintain Echelon's steel structures.

It is believed that the delay will allow joint venture partners Morgans and GGP to secure finance.

Echelon hotels

The Echelon Resort and Casino will feature two hotel towers: the 2,600-room Hotel Echelon and the 650-room suites at Echelon. Both hotels will have their own luxury two-storey spa.

Guests will be able to visit the resort's 140,000ft² casino, 25 restaurants and bars, and landscaped pool and garden areas. Echelon will also have a 4,000-seat production theatre for large concerts (operated by AEG Live) and a 1,500-seat theatre for smaller shows.

The rooms and suites of the Hotel Echelon will be designed by Lawrence Lee Associates, with the lobby designed by Gabellini Sheppard Associates. The interiors of the Suites at Echelon will be designed by Jeffery Beers International.

Shangri-La hotel

The Shangri-La Hotel Group has entered into an agreement with Boyd to operate a five-star Shangri-La hotel at the resort. The hotel will feature 282 guestrooms and 71 suites (14 guestrooms per floor), a 20,000ft² CHI spa, meeting space, a private bar and lounge and two well-appointed restaurants. The interiors will be designed by Hersh Bedner Associates.

Delano and Mondrian hotels

Boyd Gaming has also entered into a 50 / 50 joint venture with the Morgans Hotel Group to develop and operate two signature hotels in the complex – the Delano and the Mondrian – at an estimated cost of $700m.

"A 350,000ft² retail complex will be developed at Echelon with high-end shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars."

The agreement means that Boyd will provide a 6.5 acre site for the two hotels, with Morgans contributing $97.5m to the construction costs.

The Delano will have 600 rooms and suites, a nightclub, lobby bar and Asia de Cuba restaurant. The Mondrian will have 1,000 rooms and suites, a signature bar and restaurant, conference facilities, a private pool with sundeck and a rooftop Skybar.

Morgans appointed Chad Oppenheim as the design architect for both hotels. Marcel Wanders will be the interior designer for the Mondrian and Piet Boon will be the interior designer for the Delano. Construction of the Delano and Mondrian hotels was expected to start in the first quarter of 2008.

Meeting Center and other projects

Boyd Gaming will also develop the Meeting Center, a 175,000ft² exhibition and convention centre with 650,000ft² of meeting and conference space containing over 200 meeting rooms.

A 350,000ft² retail complex will be developed at the resort with a variety of high-end shops, restaurants, nightclubs and bars. The retail complex is owned by Boyd Gaming and General Growth Properties. The resort will also have covered parking for 8,000 cars. Gabellini Sheppard and Associates will design the interiors of the units in the retail complex.

Echelon power and heat

Boyd Gaming has entered into a 25-year agreement with Marina Energy LLC and DCO Energy (a joint venture as LVE Energy Partners) to supply the resort with its own energy supply system.

These two companies will design, construct and operate a district and central energy system to supply the resort. The thermal energy facility will provided 210 million British thermal units (BTU) per hour of hot water for heating. The plant will also be capable of providing 16MW of emergency electricity.