Top Construction Projects 2023: 8. Harrah’s renovation into Caesars New Orleans

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of stories outlining the top 10 construction projects in the New Orleans area for 2023 that was inserted in the Feb. 10 CityBusiness.

By: Stephen Maloney, Staff Writer February 13, 2023

2.Photo by Lance Traweek

Project description: Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino is transforming into Caesars New Orleans with a multi-million-dollar overhaul.

Project cost: $325 million

Start date: 2021

Expected completion date: 2024

Owner/developer: Caesars Entertainment

Construction: AECOM/Tishman, Ryan Gootee General Contractor 

Architecture: Various (Perez, CRTKL, JCJ and Rockwell)

Harrah’s New Orleans Hotel & Casino in downtown New Orleans is in the process of transforming into Caesars New Orleans through a $325 million renovation process. Developer Caesars Entertainment began construction in 2021, and the transformation is scheduled to be completed in late summer 2024.

“The signature part of this project is the new 340-room hotel that’s under construction,” said Kennedy Smith, vice president of marketing. “The foundation of the hotel has been what the team has been working on the most. What you’re going to see now, over the next few months, is that building coming up off the ground.”

Within the next year, the envelope of the building should be complete, Smith said. The hotel tower will rise above the existing casino valet station. Interior work on the hotel building is expected to take an additional eight months after the outside is completed. The existing exterior of Harrah’s will be repainted now, before the hotel tower begins to rise.

While there will be no new construction on the existing Harrah’s hotel, the future of the branding of the building itself is currently being decided, Smith said.

“In addition to the hotel, a whole revamp of the existing casino structure, both inside and outside, is underway,” Smith said. “The first of those big projects was the opening of the Sportsbook as well as the World Series of Poker room that opened on Labor Day weekend, prior to the start of the football season.”

The new Caesars Sportsbook offers a 5,700-square-foot full-service sportsbook with four betting windows, 12 self-service betting kiosks, a 147-foot video screen, a multi-display “Legends,” and a large bar area. The 140 seat viewing area is arranged for all guests to have a great view of the massive video screen.

The World Series of Poker room offers 20 tables and weekday tournaments for players of all calibers, from entry level to poker pros.

The new Food Hall is set to open in February 2023. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay will open Bobby’s Burgers, while Nina Compton will contribute Nina’s Creole Flavors. For a sweet touch, Buddy Valastro will offer Pizza Cake, which will serve New York style pizza alongside the Food Network star’s signature cakes.

Famed sushi restaurant Nobu will also come to Ceasars New Orleans, thanks to a new deal between Ceasars and Nobu Hospitality founders Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, Robert De Niro and Meir Teper.

The trio of new restaurants in the food hall will cater to gamblers as well as visitors who don’t ever visit the gaming floor, Smith said. Families will be welcomed at the restaurants, but anyone under 21-years-of-age will not be allowed on the gaming floor.

Overall, the transition from Harrah’s to Caesars will redefine all spaces within the complex, Smith said. While Harrah’s leaned heavily on themed décor, Caesars New Orleans will be bright, open and inviting.

“The new thought with a lot of the casinos as well as with Caesars New Orleans is it’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be modern, light and airy,” Smith said. “It will be more modern and brighter.”

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