Thursday, June 8, 2000 | 10:55 a.m.
The Las Vegas Strip's Aladdin Gaming is in talks to develop a high-rise luxury hotel and condominium on Audrie Street, just behind its $1.4 billion Arabian Nights-themed resort complex.
Richard Goeglein, chief executive of Aladdin Gaming, said the project is currently conceived as a $200 million complex, with 100 to 150 high-end condominium units and a luxury hotel. He would not identify the potential partner, which would be the majority owner of the high rise.
Though no binding deal has been signed, "long term, we definitely want to do it," Goeglein said.
"This is quite a trend around the United States now, building high-end hotels with high-end condominium-apartment components," Goeglein said. "At the high-end, we think it could be very much to our advantage, because it gives us another kind of product. It gives them (wealthy clients) a sense of exclusivity and privacy, yet easy access into the Aladdin."
As currently envisioned, Aladdin Gaming would offer about 1 acre of land at the northeast corner of its parcel for development in exchange for a minority share. The developer would provide the necessary capital for development and would manage both the hotel and condominium components.
"This would have no financial requirements or financial risks to Aladdin at all," Goeglein said.
Talks are continuing sporadically as well on the proposed "Aladdin Music Project," a $250 million themed hotel-casino that would encompass 1,000 hotel rooms and a 50,000-square-foot casino. Though the music hotel-casino would be part of the Aladdin complex, it would be developed in partnership with another company.
That company was to have been Planet Hollywood, but Aladdin pulled out of this partnership in late 1998 over concerns the Orlando restaurant operator wouldn't be able to meet its $41 million commitments. Within months, Planet Hollywood filed for bankruptcy.
Though talks are continuing with several possible partners, "our view is that once we are open, if we do as well as we believe we'll do, that 5 acres (that will house the music project) becomes substantially more valuable even than it is now," Goeglein said. "Who knows? We may be in a position to develop that property all on our own."
Aladdin's potential condominium development is the latest in a string of new luxury condominiums now rising near the Las Vegas Strip. Park Towers, a joint partnership between developer Irwin Molasky and casino magnate Steve Wynn, is being built near the Howard Hughes Center at a cost of $120 million. Park Towers' 84 units cost an average of $1.5 million.
More ambitious are the plans of Turnberry Associates, which is developing the four-tower Turnberry Place, a $600 million, 750-unit luxury condominium project on Paradise Road. Though the first tower in Turnberry Place has yet to open, the Miami company is already moving forward with its next condo project -- Madison Towers, a twin-tower, $250 million condominium development at Paradise and Karen roads. Madison Towers will offer smaller condominiums at a lower price point -- prices will range from $165,000 to $400,000.
Though still on the drawing board, sales for Madison Towers should begin in October, with development launching next spring, said John Riordan, vice president of sales for Turnberry. If all goes on schedule, the first tower could open by summer 2002.
With the lower price points, "we feel we'll find a lot of local buyers for Madison Towers," Riordan said. "For young professionals without children, or professional singles, it will be a very attractive lifestyle."
Despite the growing slate of condo development in the vicinity of the Strip, Riordan thinks there's a lot of demand still to be met.
"This kind of project never really existed before," Riordan said. "Since Regency Tower opened at the Las Vegas Country Club in the '70s, there's really been nothing since then. Everything's been single family homes, further and further out from the core of the city.
"There's a large percentage of people that don't want to live out in the suburbs, so you'll continue to see demand for this kind of living."
Though Riordan said nothing is now planned beyond Madison Towers, "if we were very successful, I don't see any reason why we wouldn't continue."