Boyd Gaming says Echelon Resort Not Coming Any Time Soon

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Ah, the Stardust, we remember you well.  Maybe not the grandest of places on the new Las Vegas Strip but still a fun, comfy place if you were looking for that classic Las Vegas vibe.  The Stardust was torn down back in 2007 to make room for Boyd Gaming new mega-resort, Echelon.

But then the economy cratered, taking Bill Boyd's dreams of a luxury resort along with it.  To stop hemorrhaging money on the project, he dialed construction back to the bare bones in hopes that he could ride out the crisis.

Early this morning he announced that it will be a tad longer for those waiting for Echelon to be finished.  Another three to five years longer before construction resumes.  That's an eternity in Las Vegas. 

From Howard Stutz at the R-J:

Boyd Gaming Corp. said this morning it doesn’t expect to restart construction of the $4.8 billion Echelon project for at least three to five years.

The company suspended construction of the Strip development on the site of the former Stardust more than a year ago.

"We continue to believe in the long-term viability of the Las Vegas market," Boyd Gaming Chief Executive Officer Keith Smith said. "But given the ongoing weak economic conditions, the significant new supply coming online and a difficult capital-market environment for projects of this nature, resuming construction in the near term is not an option."

The recession reduced Boyd Gaming’s third quarter profits. The casino operator said its net income fell about 27 percent in period that ended Sept. 30.

Boyd Gaming said its net income was $6.3 million in quarter, or 7 cents per share, compared with $8.7 million, or 10 cents a share for the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet Research estimated, on average, the company would report earnings per share of 12 cents.

Boyd said revenue fell 6.6 percent in the quarter to $398.2 million. The company blamed the slump on reduced consumer spending, especially in Las Vegas.

“Improved results in our Downtown Las Vegas, Borgata and Midwest and South regions helped offset softness in the Las Vegas Locals market,” Smith said in a statement. “While visitation levels remained fairly constant, spend per visitor continues to be down significantly year-over-year, as consumers are still being cautious with their spending.”