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Vegas economy delays work on Echelon hotel

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 1 (UPI) -- Boyd Gaming blamed tougher credit markets and a slower economy for its decision to delay construction of its $5 billion hotel project on the Las Vegas Strip.

Boyd Gaming said Friday that it remained committed to Echelon and seeking to rearrange financing with its creditors.

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The company said in a written statement that the decision was made "due to the difficult environment surrounding today's capital markets and the challenging economic conditions that currently exist."

The delay was the latest sign that a slower U.S. economy was pressuring the Las Vegas economy and that tighter credit markets were making it tougher on construction.

Echelon is being built on an 87-acre site where the famed Stardust casino once stood. Its five towers will include nearly 5,000 rooms plus a huge casino, 30 restaurants and convention hall measuring 750,000 square feet. Construction began last summer.

Meanwhile, Boyd said its net revenues for the second quarter were down 6.3 percent and its was increasing its stock-repurchase budget to $100 million.

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