BILOXI, Mississippi -- Exactly one year to the day Hurricane Katrina rampaged through the Gulf Coast, destroying much of Biloxi's hospitality and tourism industries, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
The Beau Rivage
(www.beaurivage.com), the crown jewel of the Mississippi Gulf Coast gaming industry, will officially reopen on August 29, 2006.
The project is speeding toward completion on an 8-month schedule (after three months of debris removal) that would normally take 18 to 22 months. Essentially, the entire 3.2-million-square foot resort was remodeled and restored, including its casino, all 1,740 guest room and suites, restaurants, shops, kitchens, meeting rooms, and central heating/cooling plant/electrical switchgear. The impressive undertaking was accomplished in record time, thanks in large part to the commitment and dedication to the people of Biloxi as well as excellent professional ties shared by owner, MGM MIRAGE with owner's representative, Tishman Construction Corporation and general contractor, W.G. Yates & Sons.
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino, Mississippi's tallest building at 32 stories, was originally built in 1999, including an 85,000-square foot casino complete with table games and slot machines. At the time of its opening, it was the largest hotel/casino in the US outside of Nevada, and at 3.2 million square feet, remains the largest building in Mississippi. With its elegant shopping promenade, seven (soon to increase to 11) restaurants, luxury spa and salon, full-service business center and 50,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, Beau Rivage Resort & Casino is the largest resort in the Southeast to receive the AAA Four Diamond award and arguably the premier property in Mississippi, if not the entire Gulf Coast.
Among the nation's casinos, those in Biloxi were unique prior to Hurricane Katrina for their requirement, per Mississippi gaming laws, to float on mobile marine vessels. In the case of Beau Rivage, the casino level of the resort, including lounges, restaurant, retail, showroom, kitchen, main entrance and central energy plant, floats at 20 feet above sea level on top of five barges anchored by nine million pounds of structural steel piles 170 feet deep in the Mississippi Sound. This sea-anchored, semi-submersible barge is the largest of its kind in the world. When Hurricane Katrina tore through Biloxi bringing with it a tidal wave estimated at 30 feet, even this superior barge structure could not totally withstand the impact.
Casino, Restaurants, and All Guest Rooms and Suites Renovated
In Katrina's aftermath, although Beau Rivage's hotel tower remained intact - one of the few buildings still recognizable on Biloxi's coast -- its first two floors were washed out. Damage assessments to the property indicated the need for repairs to the casino's barge structure, substantial demolition of the first two floors of the hotel tower, overhaul of the casino level, and cleaning and renovation of all 1,740 guest rooms and suites, many of which had sustained further damage in the aftermath of the hurricane.
"Although we had been fully apprised of the scale of the project at Beau Rivage, we were truly shocked by the degree of devastation in Biloxi," commented Robert Segal, Project Executive of Tishman Construction. "At Beau Rivage, giant waves had ripped through, and although not able to untether the barges from their pilings, did succeed in forcing them down 18 to 24 inches. In spite of the damage, Beau Rivage was much less affected than many of the other casinos' barges, some of which, as big as a football field and five stories high, had been moved hundreds of feet from their sites. The casino level at Beau Rivage's ground floor was also in bad shape and many of the hotel rooms had incurred indirect storm damage. Much needed to be done."
While the renovations required of the Beau Rivage project were substantial, a main challenge to rebuilding was in the timing since MGM MIRAGE was determined to bring back the resort and casino to its workers, patrons and Mississippians alike as soon as possible. In effect, since the true renovation work began in January 2006, after damage assessment and reconstruction preparations had been completed, Beau Rivage's reopening is a remarkable eight-month accomplishment. Much credit is owed to the strong cooperative relationship shared by Tishman and WG Yates, which were successfully able to streamline management of the renovation, drawing on efficiencies developed from experiences working together on other projects.
Project Separated Into Six Parts to Achieve Success
David Victoria, Tishman Construction Corporation's General Superintendent was the company's first professional on the project: "Working with WG Yates with whom we have a first-rate relationship, we were able to get started right away, coordinating first, a monumental demolition project from October to mid-December. After that, separating the project into six smaller and less overwhelming projects between us, and meeting to coordinate these each week, we set to work repairing and re-tethering the barge and remodeling damaged hotel rooms."
Twelve hundred workers employed by local Mississippi contractors, many of which had been involved in the resort's original construction, were dedicated to the renovation of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Thanks to their seamless coordination, the property has been returned to its iconic status by reaching even greater levels of excellence. The resort has a fresh, updated look and a better-integrated service network and technological infrastructure to more efficiently handle the needs of guests. The world-class casino, seated on a repaired and reinforced barge structure, has a new poker room, state-of-the-art gaming areas and a better-defined high-limits area.
"We're looking forward to reopening our doors to our customers and to get our 3,800 employees back to work," said George Corchis, president of Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. "We're truly grateful to our dedicated construction team composed of WG Yates with Tishman Construction supervising, which has worked so tirelessly to maintain our goal of reopening Beau Rivage on August 29 so it can continue its legacy as a strong community leader and the crown jewel of the Mississippi Gulf Coast."
"Everyone at Tishman is proud and honored to help get the Beau Rivage back on track, and to help restore Biloxi's economy and job base," said Daniel R. Tishman, Chairman of Tishman Construction. "August 29, 2006, is a great day for the City and the State."
Beau Rivage Resort & Casino
875 Beach Boulevard
Biloxi, MS 39530
Phone: (228) 386-7111
Toll Free Phone: (888) 567-6667
|The 32-story Beau Rivage features 1,740 rooms, including 95 luxury suites. Each room has original artwork and offers a stunning view of the Mississippi Gulf or the Back Bay. The resorté─˘s 85,000-square-foot casino features the excitement of table games and slot machines, offering guests 24-hour enjoyment. The resort also offers a 'casino within a casino' that provides guests with a non-smoking area.|