ATLANTIC CITY — Everything about the new casino that’s going to replace the former Sands is designed to be Las Vegas-style — right down to the demolition of its predecessor.
Old casinos in Las Vegas are routinely brought down with explosives in a choreographed spectacle that draws thousands of onlookers. Next month, Atlantic City will see its first casino implosion — complete with a world-famous Grucci fireworks display and laser light show to serve notice that not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
“It’s a fascinating experience,” said Kim Townsend, chief executive officer of Pinnacle Atlantic City, which plans a new $1.5 to $2 billion casino on the former Sands site. “This will be the first casino implosion on the East Coast.”
The 21-story Sands tower will go out with a bang at 9:30 p.m. Oct. 18. The date and time were chosen after extensive studies of pedestrian and vehicle traffic in the area. Thursday night was determined to be the least crowded time for the vicinity, Townsend said.
“You will see a cloud of dust that happens instantly from this,” she said. “It crumbles in probably 15 to 20 seconds.”
Streets around the Sands will be closed and a 500 to 600-foot perimeter cordoned off to keep everyone a safe distance away.
Townsend said the best viewing areas will be a few blocks away from the demolition.
The demolition will result in 5,000 truckloads of rubble that will have to be carted away; only 500 have been taken away so far from preliminary demolition work. Each truckload carries 22 tons of debris.
All told, the rubble will weigh about as much as a cruise ship.
“The implosion signals the beginning of a very important chapter in Pinnacle’s development and in the growth of Atlantic City,” said Daniel Lee, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer.
Pinnacle is not yet saying what it will call the new casino, or what it will look like. It is due to open in 2011, at about the same time as another new competitor, Revel Entertainment, will open a casino of similar size and cost farther north on the Boardwalk, next to the Showboat Casino-Hotel.
Pinnacle owns and operates casinos in Nevada, Louisiana, Indiana, Missouri, Argentina and The Bahamas.
Pinnacle Entertainment shares fell 8 cents, or 0.3 percent, Friday to close at $26.59 on the New York Stock Exchange.