Tilman Fertitta's Golden Nugget empire just got a little closer to Texas.
The Houston-based dining, hospitality and gaming mogul announced Thursday that his Landry's group has acquired an under-construction casino and hotel located next to the popular L'Auberge du Lac Resort in Lake Charles, La.
“I could not pass up the opportunity to build and operate a casino next door to my hometown," Fertitta said in a statement detailing the new 800-room Golden Nugget complex, which will open in 2014.
“I could not pass up the opportunity to build and operate a casino next door to my hometown. "
"This casino will be where Louisiana locals and Texans will want to play, stay and enjoy themselves. We are investing nearly $600 million dollars in the project and plan to draw from our large South Texas and Louisiana customer base to drive business to our new resort.”
A scant two hours from the Bayou City, the 242-acre site will feature an 18-hole championship golf course, a luxury spa and 18,000-square-foot ballroom as well as a lakefront beach area and marina. A state-of-the-art casino will include 60 table games, a poker room and 1600 new slot machines.
Also on the drawing board is a "one of a kind" swimming pool . . . although it remains unclear whether it will include a 200,000-gallon live shark aquarium like the pool at the Las Vegas Golden Nugget. (Click here to see the famous pool in a 2010 episode of CSI.)
As with Fertitta's other Nuggets — not only the Vegas original, but also those in Atlantic City, Biloxi and Laughlin, Nev. — the new casino-hotel will have heavy representation from his Landry's restaurant lineup. Vic & Anthony’s Steakhouse and Grotto Italian Ristorante already are on board.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Fertitta purchased the in-progress casino complex from Pinnacle Entertainment, which owns L'Auberge. The project marks the last available gaming license in state of Louisiana.