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Debt-Free Tropicana Seeks New Life With $125 Million Upgrade

Posted on January 26, 2010 by Jordan There have been 0 comments

The Las Vegas Tropicana’s first upgrade in 25 years is almost complete as it will be the first major casino company to emerge from bankruptcy in the recession. Although the project is will not fully open until spring 2010, Tropicana Entertainment offers a sign of hope for local companies who are caught up in the worst downturn this industry has ever seen. Less than two years after its bankruptcy filing, Tropicana Entertainment’s debt has been wiped clean, and the company’s new owner, billionaire Carl Icahn, is injecting $150 million to pay creditors along with $125 million for improvements to the properties.

Up until now, the Tropicana had remained unchanged since its last renovation in 1985. A $125 million facelift was announced last July shortly after the hotel-casino emerged from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company under the leadership of Alex Yemenidjian. The makeover included redesigning Tropicana’s casino floor, hotel rooms, convention space, restaurants, pool and adding a nightclub to bring the hotel-casino up to speed. The company also announced a new leadership team, including the Stratosphere’s former food and beverage vice president, Jim Laughlin, who took on Tropicana’s new dining ventures.

Also as part of the upgrade, Tropicana added two new restaurants in an effort to further revamp the property. The Tropicana opened Italian restaurant Bacio Pasta and Vino, which is an intimate Italian bistro with large murals and mounted wine racks. Former Harrah’s, Rio and Las Vegas Hilton executive chef George Bargisen also will serve as executive chef at Bacio. Bargisen brings more than 20 years of resort experience to the new restaurant. The second new restaurant is Havana GO GO, which has replaced Tropicana’s Java Java coffee shop. Havana GO GO with serve quick eats like coffee, pastries, soups, paninis and pizzas. Tropicana wanted the new and revamped restaurants to be a glimpse of the South Beach feel the property is aiming for in its $125 million renovation and rebranding.

The property also released an updated logo last month as the first step in the resort’s rebranding campaign. The Paradise Tower rooms have been redone and are first that will be opened this spring. The Island Tower walkway, which once held a string of kiosks selling novelty items, has been revamped with white marble and is vendor-free. The next phase of the project will include remodeled rooms in the Island and Garden Towers, a nightclub, a sports book and exterior renovations.

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