by Michael J. Shapiro | June 18, 2019

Caesars Forum, the $375 million conference facility taking form just off the Center Strip in Las Vegas, has reached the topping-off construction milestone. Caesars Entertainment executives, construction workers and Caesars' meetings and conventions customers gathered last week to witness the placement of the final steel beam atop the facility, which is expected to open for business before the end of March 2020.

Meanwhile, rumors continue to swirl surrounding the company's future. Talk of a possible acquisition by the smaller Eldorado Resorts continued Monday, after Eldorado announced it was selling off three of its regional hotel-casino properties. Some analysts speculated that the $385 million sale of resorts in Missouri and West Virginia helped to better position Eldorado for a major purchase of a company such as Caesars. Although the transaction was relatively small compared to a potential Caesars takeover, the sale does also reduce the number of Missouri casinos a combined company would be running -- alleviating a possible market-competition concern should a deal occur.

Eldorado CEO Tom Reeg noted that selling the regional properties "provides additional capital that we expect to deploy for shareholder value-enhancing initiatives."

Though remaining mum on the possible acquisition, Caesars is celebrating the Forum's progress. The 550,000-square-foot meeting facility promises Silver LEED certification, 300,000 square feet of conference space and the world's largest two pillarless ballrooms, in addition to a 100,000-square-foot event-friendly plaza in front of the building. In all, the venue will accommodate more than 10,000 attendees and more than 100 breakout rooms.

"Caesars Forum is one step closer to offering this one-of-a-kind option in the meetings and conventions industry," said Michael Massari, chief sales officer at Caesars Entertainment. "The interest and bookings for our world-class facility has exceeded our expectation, and we look forward to serving a variety of clients when we open the doors next year."

The Forum is situated alongside Caesars' Linq Promenade, within walking distance of eight Caesars Entertainment resorts that offer a total of 20,000 hotel rooms. A skybridge will connect the conference facility directly to Harrah's and the Linq Hotel + Experience. A pedestrian bridge will ease access to the Linq Promenade entertainment area as well as the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.