New Vegas Strip project unveiled

LAS VEGAS - A Las Vegas real estate developer has entered into a joint venture with Minnesota's Lakes Gaming to develop a 16-acre parcel on the Strip, just south of the Harley-Davidson Cafe.

Developer Brett Torino's plans call for a $700 million nongaming complex that will include a 52-story tower with hotel rooms and condominium units, four restaurants and 400,000 square feet of retail space.

''We see this as an excellent opportunity to develop what is possibly the best site remaining for development of the center of the Las Vegas Strip,'' Lakes Gaming Chairman Lyle Berman said Monday in a statement. ''It's the most dynamic location on the Strip.''

Torino Vice President Steve Macie said retail will be the focus of the project.

''We're surrounded by gaming, and we're not a gaming company,'' Macie said.

The project's financing is yet to be arranged, but Macie said Bank of America would likely lead a group of lenders.

The developers are negotiating with two luxury hotel companies, Macie noted. The bottom 22 to 27 floors will hold the hotel, while the upper floors will be for condo units.

Two separate entertainment venues are planned, totaling about 60,000 square feet.

The partners expect to break ground on the project within 18 months and hope to complete it by mid-2005.

Torino has developed, built and managed residential and commercial projects in Southern California, Colorado and Arizona. The company also has built a residential subdivision on the east side of Las Vegas and a Walgreens drug store next to the MGM Grand.

Lakes Gaming is a casino management company formed from what remains of the original Grand Casinos, the bulk of which was purchased by Park Place Entertainment in 1998. Lakes Gaming manages a tribal casino in Louisiana.

Lakes Gaming already owns part of the parcel, and has options to purchase the remainder. The land includes property occupied by the Polo Plaza, Travelodge, and the old Shark Club.


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