Tuesday, July 21, 1998 | 11:48 a.m.
Coast Resorts is moving ahead with plans for a middle-market locals casino in the Summerlin area.
Sundance, a $145 million hotel-casino featuring a multiplex movie theatre and a 500-seat showroom, will break ground early next year on a 50-acre parcel at the northwest corner of Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive, officials said.
Though Sundance will be located near the Resort at Summerlin, it will not compete directly with that $270-million, golf-oriented resort, which will target high-end customers.
"We'll definitely be a lower-priced facility," said Harlan Braaten, president of Las Vegas-based Coast Resorts. "We're not going to go after the high end."
Sundance will be positioned like Coast Resorts' Orleans hotel-casino on West Tropicana, as "a reasonable place at a nice price," Braaten said.
Sundance's first phase will cost about $110 million, and will include a 240-room hotel tower, a 70,000-square-foot casino, a 14 to 16-screen multiplex, four restaurants and a 500-seat showroom. The second phase will include another 240-room tower, and 10,000 square feet of convention space, Braaten said.
At some point, bowling, bingo and child-care facilities will be added, but Braaten said it is too early to tell whether those amenities will be built in the first or second phase.
Coast Resorts also plans to establish relationships with the neighboring Angel Park and Badlands golf courses.
"It's our intention to maintain relationships that we've begun with both the Badlands and Angel Park," Braaten said. "It would be our intent to have package plans and tournaments with those two golf courses."
The company is talking with banks and Wall Street investment bankers about financing the project. In March, a Coast Resorts official said the company was considering an equity offering to finance Sundance. Braaten said the exact method has not yet been decided.
"Right now, we're in the middle of exploring all of those avenues," Braaten said.
Final plans for Sundance will be completed later this year, and permits and construction bids will be obtained by year's end, Braaten said. Construction will begin in the first quarter, he said.
Sundance will be in an ideal location to take advantage of development pushing south from Summerlin and west from the Lakes area, Braaten said.
"This property is in a fabulous location," he said. "Casinos, from that area, are about 5 miles away. We really believe that there needs to be something accessible to people without having to drive a long ways to get to it."
Also driving the project are improved operating results at other Coast properties, most notably the Orleans. In the first quarter, Coast posted a profit of $2.4 million, compared to a loss of $2.1 million a year earlier. While profits rose slightly at the Gold Coast, and fell sharply at the Barbary Coast, they rose from $891,000 to $9.5 million at the Orleans.
"With the Orleans now performing well, it's time to look forward to the next project," Braaten said.