Las Vegas Sun

November 17, 2018

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Rejected casino investor wants to try again

A would-be casino developer from California who once threatened to sue state regulators for denying him a casino license says he expects to reapply with the state to run a casino resort planned for the Las Vegas Strip and Convention Center Drive.

Luke Brugnara, a San Francisco real estate investor, has submitted plans with the county to build a 24-story, 304-room resort at the site of the defunct Silver City Casino. The property, called "Tycoon," would cater to the young and hip, much as the Palms casino in Las Vegas does, he said.

Brugnara said he expects to use his own funds to finance the roughly $100 million resort. Plans call for a 33,174-square-foot casino, a rooftop nightclub overlooking the Strip and another nightclub on the ground floor that will lead to a pool and lagoon area.

Brugnara sold off the front third of the Silver City parcel facing the Strip to an investment group that is expected to build a Ross Dress For Less store on the site. A drugstore located near the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Convention Center Drive will sit in front of the planned resort on the Strip side.

Las Vegas architect Lee Linton said Tuesday that he is working with Brugnara to design the resort, which is not requesting development waivers from the county and will be built in an "L" shape on about 4.5 acres. Two entrances are planned -- one accessible from a walkway extending from the Strip and across an easement on the front parcel and the second fronting Convention Center Drive.

The item, scheduled to be heard by the Clark County Planning Commission Thursday, was held until Aug. 21.

The state Gaming Control Board and Nevada Gaming Commission denied Brugnara a gaming license in 2001 after probing a variety of issues including allegations that he made death threats against people, discrepancies in his financial records and claims of code violations at San Francisco office buildings he owns. His attorney at the time refused to work with Brugnara a year before he faced licensing before Nevada regulators.

Separately, a group of out-of-state investors expects to buy the Econo Lodge motel at 211 E. Flamingo Road near Koval Lane to develop a hotel-condominium complex. Owner Ararat/Davidian Investments LLC, has submitted plans with the county that call for a 24-story, 344-room tower with kitchens in the rooms.

The project would be built on 1.4 acres and is calling for waivers to reduce on-site parking requirements and property setback rules.

Developers are expected to hold the item from Thursday's agenda to resolve several issues surrounding the transaction, said Bob Sherman, a Las Vegas architect and consultant representing the potential buyers.

The sale may not occur for another couple of weeks, he said.

Both the resort and condo projects have received necessary approvals from local town boards, representatives say.

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