LAKE CHARLES, LA-Las Vegas-based Pinnacle Entertainment has broken ground on a $45-million expansion of the L’Auberge du Lac Hotel & Casino, which just marked its first birthday in May.

The casino at 777 Avenue L’Auberge is getting a nine-story tower with 250 hotel rooms to take the count to 1,000. Pinnacle also is adding more retail space, new lobby, lounge and a VIP elevator to provide access to the new tower’s second-floor luxury suites. Construction is slated to wrap up in fall 2007.

Pinnacle credits the expansion to the property’s popularity since its opening. “Calcasieu Parish has proven to be a superb location for a premier destination resort and L’Auberge’s success has validated our initial investment of $370 million in this market,” Daniel R. Lee, Pinnacle’s chairman and CEO, says in this morning’s press release.

Larry Kepinski, L’Auberge’s vice president and general manager, adds that the expansion is also geared to making the property more competitive and attractive to convention and meeting planners. “This will also allow us to be better able to satisfy customer demand for rooms on the weekends,” he says. The expansion project is estimated to boost the staff to more than 2,250.

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