elara

Elara (formerly named the PH Towers) is a 52-story timeshare residential building in Paradise, Nevada. When it opened in 2009, the tower had 1,201 units. Approximately 200 of them were designated as timeshares; the rest would be used as hotel rooms for the nearby Planet Hollywood resort.

Prior to opening, the PH Towers was marketed as the world´s largest timeshare building, and also the first timeshare project connected to a major casino resort. The sign alongside the top of the building featured the biggest letters of any sign in the Las Vegas Strip area. Originally, the building was intended to be one of three towers on the site, but the plans to build two additional towers have since been scrapped.

The building is featured in the 2012 documentary ”The Queen of Versailles” by Lauren Greenfield. The movie depicts Westgate Resorts owners Jackie Siegel and David Siegel as they build their private residence (”Versailles”) and the crisis they face as the U.S. economy declines.

Where is Elara?

The PH Towers (now named Elara) was built on 4 acres of land on 80 East Harmon Avenue in Paradise, Nevada, United States. It is situated just behind the famous Planet Hollywood resort that operates on the Las Vegas Strip.

Coordinates: 36°6′30.65″N 115°10′7.75″W

When was it built?

In 2006-2009.

Groundbreaking took place in January 2006, the construction was topped off in July 2008 and the opening was on 18 December, 2009.

Ownership and operations

Elara is owned by LV Tower 52 LCC and managed by the Hilton Grand Vacations Company.

The PH Towers were originally owned by Siegel’s Westgate Resorts, and operated by Earl´s Planet Hollywood International, Inc. In 2010, Harrah´s Entertainment acquired Planet Hollywood and thereby became the operators of the PH Towers.

In 2011, Westgate Resorts sold the PH Towers after running into financial problems. The Hilton Grand Vacations Company was appointed to handle sales, marketing and rebranding, and they changed the name of the building from PH Towers to Elara in March 2012.

Architecture & construction

Floor count: 52

Number of units: 1,201

Developer: Westgate Resorts

Architect: Gerald Koi of Morris Architects

Interior design: DiLeonardo International

Main contractor: Tutor-Saliba Corporation

Overseer of construction: Bovis Lend Lease Americas

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on 19 January, 2006. At this point, the building was expected to be ready for opening by late 2007.

The building was topped off on 2 July, 2008.

The first residents moved in on 18 December, 2009, as part of a soft opening.

Background

Prior to the construction of PH Towers, two other large projects had been planned for the site but none of them materialized.

In 1998, the site was associated with Aladdin Gaming´s plans for a new Alladin resort and an adjacent Alladin Music Project. The Alladin Music Project was to be developed together with Planet Hollywood on 5 acres of land south-east of the Aladdin, at the intersection of Harmon Avenu and Audrie Street.

The partnership between Aladdin and Planet Hollywood was scrapped in late 1998, and Aladdin eventually entered into negotiations with another – unnamed – partner, for a hotel and condo project behind the Aladdin resort. In November 2000, it was announced that the five-acre site south-east of Aladdin was to be purchased by The Athena Group LLC, but this purchase never happened. Athena had plans for a 35-40 storey combined hotel and condo building with a total of 500-550 units, in collaboration with Desert Passage.

In August 2001, Aladdin announced that the deal with Athena was off. At this point, the Aladdin resort was struggling financially and badly needed to sell the five-acre parcel.

In June 2003, Aladdin – including the five-acre parcel – was purchased by a group of investors headed by Robert Earl, the founder and chief executive of Planet Hollywood. In Florida, Earl had been a neighbour of David A. Siegel, the founder of Westgate Resorts. Roughly 1.5 years after the Aladdin purchase, Westgate Resorts announced that they would build a 52-storey timeshare tower on the five-acre property, where unsold units were to be used as hotel rooms for the Aladdin resort. Also, the Aladdin resort was scheduled to undergo a major renovation and be renamed the Planet Hollywood resort.