Caesars Entertainment has announced it will invest $325 million in Harrah’s New Orleans, adding a second hotel tower and renaming it Caesars New Orleans.
Company officials said the renovation will be complete by 2024. The New Orleans Building Corp. and the Louisiana Gaming Control Board still must approve the plans.
The venue’s interior and exterior will be remodeled, including the 115,000-square-foot casino. New restaurants and other amenities also will be added, said General Manager Samir Mowad. “(It) is only the beginning of a transformation,” Mowad said. “As a native of New Orleans, I am so proud that we are working with local architects and designers to help enhance an already incredible destination.” Mowad said Caesars will announce other details of the project in the coming months.
Caesars CEO Tom Reeg added, “We are excited to introduce Caesars New Orleans to the city. As the only land-based gaming operator in the city, we take great pride in our 20-year history in New Orleans, and this reinvestment is a testament to our continued commitment.”
The property, on Canal Street near the Mississippi River, opened in 2018 as the only land-based casino in Louisiana. The parcel and buildings associated with Harrah’s New Orleans are owned by real estate investment trust VICI Properties and leased back to Caesars.
The renovation is part of an agreement negotiated between Caesars and the Louisiana legislature to extend Caesars’ casino license through 2054. During its license application process last year, Caesars said it was necessary to add the new hotel tower to its existing 450-room hotel, opened in 2006, because it had to house VIP players at other city hotels due to the lack of rooms.
Caesars officials said the project will create 600 construction jobs. The company pledged to continue to employ at least 2,400 people and add 500 new jobs in 2024 when its renewed 30-year license begins. New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said, “We are excited that this expansion will mean hundreds of construction jobs during the project and hundreds more in sustainable and new jobs post-construction.”
She added the renovation of the property will help “move this city forward and fuel our economic recovery. The addition of Caesars New Orleans will strengthen our city’s position as the top cultural and entertainment destination city in the nation.”
Caesars also committed to finance various state and city infrastructure projects, promising $19.5 million over three years to the city.
Earlier this year, the Orleans Parish Assessor announced that, due to Covid-19, it would lower property valuations and thereby property taxes for 2021. As a result, Caesars will realize savings of $1.5 to $2 million.
In addition to Harrah’s New Orleans, Caesars now owns four casinos in Louisiana: Belle of Baton Rouge, Isle of Capri Casino Hotel in Lake Charles, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs in Bossier City and Horseshoe Bossier City. It has pending deals to sell Eldorado Shreveport (along with the operations of MontBleu Resort Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada) to Bally’s Corp. for a combined $155 million, Harrah’s Louisiana Downs Casino and Racetrack in Bossier City to Rubico Acquisition Corp. for $22 million and Belle of Baton Rouge to CQ Holding Company for an undisclosed price.