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October 23, 2014

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Will the Cosmopolitan be Las Vegas’ comeback kid with new owners Blackstone?

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The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas opened its doors to the public on Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010.

Cosmopolitan Opens

Visitors wait for the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas doors to be opened Wednesday as the new property on the Strip opened to the public. Launch slideshow »

Eric Church at The Chelsea

Eric Church performs at the Chelsea on Saturday, April 26, 2014, in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

The Las Vegas comeback kid story of record visitor volume, occupancy rates and increased convention attendance and business helped convince executives at the giant realty fund Blackstone that the timing was right to go ahead with its $1.73 billion bet in early May to purchase the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

“Las Vegas is really coming back,” I was told. “The Cosmopolitan was an important timing opportunity.” Blackstone is the largest real-estate private-equity firm in the world today with $272 billion in assets under management as of April 17.

Blackstone Senior Managing Director Tyler Henritze told me, “We are excited to join with the Cosmopolitan and work with its employees and management in the next phase of its evolution.

“As a significant investor in the hospitality sector, Blackstone recognizes the value and potential in the Cosmopolitan and Las Vegas and looks forward to working to build on the success to date.”

Blackstone, which has a 1.9 percent stake in Caesars Entertainment, is known in Las Vegas for its equity involvement with the Howard Hughes Center, Hilton Worldwide, La Quinta and more than 1,000 housing and industrial assets.

A senior exec told me: “Blackstone’s other Las Vegas holdings such as the Howard Hughes Center and our industrial properties provided a unique insight into the recovery of Las Vegas.”

Our Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority recently reported that 3.5 million visitors came to Las Vegas in April, which is a 3.5 percent increase over a year to date. For the first four months of the year, Las Vegas is running 4.8 percent ahead of the record first quarter of 2013 with 13.7 million guests during the comparable first quarters.

Our average daily room rates have jumped to $116 — an increase of 1.2 percent, with resulting revenue also up 4.4 percent. Strip occupancy also rose to nearly 92 percent. Additionally, I-15 traffic was clocked in at more than 43,000 daily trips (an increase of 5.1 percent), and all major highways registered a 4.4 percent increase to 107,535 daily trips.

In the hospitality industry, Blackstone controls the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan and the recently sold Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. It also has a 20 percent stake in the Italian luxury goods designer Versace, which has several retail outlets in Las Vegas.

Founded in 1985, Blackstone currently employs 2,000 people, with nine offices across America and additional offices from Sydney to Shanghai and Dusseldorf to Dubai.

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.

Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.

Follow Sun A&E Senior Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.

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