Friday, April 17, 1998 | 11:31 a.m.
The Maxim hotel-casino is on firmer financial footing following a foreclosure sale this morning in which West Coast Mortgage Limited Partnership bought the property from its bankrupt owner for $15 million.
Max Gaming LLC, headed by Ed Nigro, will operate the hotel-casino under a five-year lease with West Coast. Further terms of that lease were not disclosed. Nigro was approved as receiver by the Nevada Gaming Commission at the hotel last December at the request of West Coast Mortgage.
Baby Grand Inc., owner of the Maxim, owed West Coast approximately $42 million, which led to the foreclosure of the financially troubled operation.
With the lease in place, Nigro is setting his sites on making the 800-room hotel profitable in the advent of the mega-resort age with Bellagio, the Venetian, Paris and Mandalay Bay under construction.
"We think there is a market for niche hotels like the Maxim because everything is going to these big mega-resorts," Nigro said. "You hear analysts say the only way to be successful is to have these billion dollar resorts. That would be condemning all the other properties in Las Vegas. I believe the announcement of that death is premature."
Nigro thanked the 900 employees of the Maxim for sticking with the hotel through troubled financial times. He said he would count on them to provide more personalized service to customers in a more intimate atmosphere, likening the Maxim to community banks.
"They (customers) get the kind of experience you found in Las Vegas many years ago," Nigro said.
Nigro said he plans to keep generally the same executive team in place.
While the Maxim is under new ownership, Californian John Anderson and his Baby Grand still owe about $27 million to West Coast Mortgage. Las Vegas attorney Gerald Gordon, who represented West Coast, said no determination has been made as to what to do about the remaining debt.