Las Vegas casino and laundry
workers started strike preparations Tuesday, when members of the
Culinary Workers Union Local 226 and Bartenders Union Local 165
began signing up for strike benefits at a mobile station set up in
downtown Las Vegas. More than 8,000 union members voted
overwhelmingly last week to authorize their negotiating committees
to call for a strike if negotiations don't lead to new contracts.
Currently some 10,000 casino and laundry employees are working
under contract extensions that can be terminated by either side
with seven days' notice. A strike would affect 14 casinos in
downtown and the Strip, including Binion's, El Cortez,
Fitzgerald's, Four Queens, Fremont, Golden Gate, Golden Nugget, Las
Vegas Club, Las Vegas Hilton, Main Street, Plaza, Tropicana and
Western, as well as the two industrial laundries.
Project Hometown -- a $1.1 billion plan for a new
performing arts center, a new events arena and the renovation of
the Citrus Bowl stadium in Orlando -- might have hit a few
roadblocks. Local hotelier Harris Rosen, who owns seven properties
in town, is seeking 30,000 signatures to amend the county charter
so the public would have to vote on any public spending of $25
million or more on a sports arena, performing arts venue or
stadium. "I believe politicians should not be deciding what to do
with millions of dollars of public funds," Rosen told
M&C, adding he has almost 5,000 signatures so far.
Among his objections, Rosen says he would rather see the tax
dollars go to marketing Orlando to improve lagging occupancy rates.
"For the meeting and conventions industry, these new community
venues mean additional opportunities for the attendees," responds
Heather Allebaugh, constituent correspondent for Orlando mayor
Buddy Dyer. "Orlando's tourism industry as a whole has supported
these projects -- from Disney and Universal Orlando to the Hotel
& Lodging Association. They also have a vested interest in
hotel occupancy rates, but see the projects as an important
investment in the Orlando community." If Rosen acquires the number
of signatures needed, the question will appear on the November
ballot, possibly delaying the venues' construction. The project was
approved by the Orange County Commission in July.
Revel Entertainment Group applied for a Coastal Area
Facility Review Act permit and filed site plans with the Atlantic
City Division of Planning last week for a beachfront casino
entertainment resort on 20 acres of land along the boardwalk.
Revel's plans include two 1,900-room hotel towers, 150,000 square
feet of casino space and 500,000 square feet of dining, retail and
entertainment space, expected to open in 2011. Meeting space
details have not been determined yet.
Responding to multiple proposals to build casino
resorts in Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick has announced a
plan to auction off three casino licenses, each for a different
region of the state. The plan still needs approval from the state
legislature. The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and the operators of the
Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut have each advanced plans for $1
billion casino resorts, and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and another
Wampanoag tribe on the island of Martha's Vineyard have each
discussed separate plans for additional resorts. The Mashpee
Wampanoag tribe, which still could build a casino on tribal lands
even if the governor's licensing proposal is rejected, already has
signed an agreement with the town of Middleborough, south of
Boston, to support the building of a casino there if and when the
tribe gets necessary state and federal approvals. The tribe has
expressed interest in opening a casino by 2010.
The 337-room JW Marriott Grand Rapids (Mich.) opens
Friday with 20,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is a few
blocks from DeVos Place, an SMG-managed convention center with
250,000 square feet of meeting space. Features of the hotel include
616, a fine-dining restaurant; wired and wireless Internet access
in all guest rooms, and a helipad for helicopter access.
A lawsuit holding up the expansion project at
Chicago's O'Hare International Airport has been decided in favor of
the airport and the city. The United States 7th Circuit Court of
Appeals ruled the city could acquire land that currently holds a
cemetery but is in the projected path of a runway expansion. To
date, the O'Hare Modernization Project has awarded $750 million
worth of contracts and expects to commission $615 million more next
The Hyatt Regency Dallas, Reunion Tower and historic
Union Station will undergo a combined $55 million transformation.
At the hotel, the 15,000-square-foot Cumberland Hall will be
upgraded, as will all 1,122 guest rooms, with work being completed
by year's end. The Hyatt offers 160,000 square feet of meeting
space. Reunion Tower will close down Nov. 16 through fall 2008
while its three levels are reconfigured. The Antares restaurant and
The Dome lounge will be combined on the top level, and the second
level will become event space. The third level, the observation
area, will be given a facelift. Interior renovations were begun in
July at Union Station, where event space is being added on the
Also in Dallas, the 1,606-room Hilton Anatole is
beginning the second phase of a multiyear renovation project. About
$45 million will be spent to refurbish most public areas, the 700
guest rooms in the Tower and 126,304 square feet of the property's
330,000 square feet of meeting space. The project's first phase
renovated the 900 Atrium guest rooms and turned the Stemmons
Auditorium into the 8,300-square-foot Stemmons Ballroom. Phase two
will be completed by the end of the year.
The 116-room Hotel Le
Parc-Trocadero Paris will be rebranded the Renaissance Parc
Trocadero next spring. A complete renovation of the guest rooms, 12
meeting rooms, public areas and fitness center currently is under
way. The property will be the third Renaissance hotel in Paris and
the eighth in Marriott International's portfolio of properties in
the French capital.