Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2000 | 11:13 a.m.
It's Coast Resorts Inc.'s most upscale property, located near one of the most upscale communities in the Las Vegas Valley.
When the $200 million Suncoast opens tonight, it will represent something the Las Vegas gaming company has never done before.
Coast's fourth property is more upscale than the Orleans, the Gold Coast and Barbary Coast. Located at the intersection of Rampart Boulevard and Alta Drive near Summerlin, the Suncoast is more than 10 miles from the Strip and is a locals property to the core.
The final potential barrier to an on-time opening was removed Monday when the city of Las Vegas issued a temporary certificate of occupancy to the Suncoast following successful testing of its fire and safety systems. With these certificates in hand, delays similar to those seen at the openings of the Aladdin, the Regent Las Vegas and the Venetian are unlikely.
Tonight's opening will be accompanied by a fireworks spectacular launched from three locations on the Badlands Golf Course, located just south of the Suncoast. After a four-to-five-minute display at 7:30 p.m., Suncoast's doors are scheduled to open to the public.
"It will be one of the biggest (fireworks displays) this side of town has ever seen," Suncoast Marketing Director Tom Mikovits said.
A group of six dignitaries and Coast officials will participate in a 7 p.m. ribbon-cutting. Participants will include Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, City Councilwoman Lynette Boggs McDonald and Suncoast General Manager David Ross.
Opening any new property is a gamble, and that may be more true with Suncoast, given the struggles neighbor Regent Las Vegas (formerly called the Resort at Summerlin) has had in capturing market share among residents of Summerlin, the Lakes and Peccole Ranch. But with 300,000 people living within 5 miles of the new property -- and no comparable locals property within miles -- many observers are convinced Suncoast will be a hit.
"It definitely will not be a miss like the Regent, because Coast knows their customers and they certainly know the Las Vegas locals market," said Eric Matejevich, gaming analyst with Merrill Lynch. "Regent isn't targeting the local Las Vegas patron and was not designed around the local Las Vegas patron. I think that's the big difference between the two.
"There's no reason for me to believe that (it won't be a success). What you'll find is a ton of (residential) construction in that area."
Ross said the market's appetite is borne out by initial response to Suncoast's marketing efforts. The Suncoast mailed out fliers for its slot club to 93,000 nearby homes, and received responses from one-third, Ross said.
The decidedly locals-oriented Suncoast features such local standbys as a 16-screen movie theater, a 600-seat bingo hall, a customer child-care center and a 64-lane bowling alley. In a concession to customer service, a moving walkway will take patrons between the casino and the property's 5,000-space parking garage.
Of these amenities, only the theater won't open tonight, though Suncoast officials say it should be ready to open Friday.
Downstairs, an 80,000-square-foot casino features 2,100 slots -- almost all of them with ticket systems that offer "coinless" payouts. Fifty table games will feature the low limits seen at other Coast properties, typically about $5 per hand.
Other draws aimed at the locals include eight restaurants, many value-oriented. They range from the upscale Primo's steakhouse -- complete with a spectacular second-story view of the Strip -- to a huge seven-station all-you-can eat buffet, offering patrons Italian, Mexican, American, Chinese, seafood and Mongolian cuisine for $7 at lunch, $10 at dinner.
The property is decidedly upscale by Coast's standards. Murals and tile floors pay homage to the property's Mediterranean theme, while soft gold and purple neon lighting overlook the table games pit.
"This really encapsulates all the things we've done right, and puts them under one roof," Ross said. "This is going to fill a void that this area doesn't have right now, and I'm glad that it's Coast that's doing it."