Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun
Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 | 2:17 p.m.
CARSON CITY – The $3.9 billion Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas hotel-casino on the Las Vegas Strip has gained final approval from the Nevada Gaming Commission for opening Dec. 15.
Deutsche Bank made the initial $2 billion loan, which ended in default. The bank took over the project and invested about $2 billion to complete it.
But the bank will have no influence over the gaming operation, Cosmopolitan officials told the commission today.
Two commissioners questioned whether the luxury hotel might be too optimistic in their projections. Chairman Peter Bernhard said revenue estimates of the project were “optimistic” and he called them “lofty goals.”
Bernhard said it will be a “long time before Deutsche Bank recovers all its money, but it is achievable.” He praised Deutsche Bank, however, saying it could have walked away when the initial loan went into default, but it finished the project.
Commissioner Tony Alamo said adjacent properties had high expectations of the money they would make, but fell short of those expectations.
Jeffrey Burge, chief financial officer of Nevada Property 1, which will oversee the property, said there are signs of an economic recovery “to some extent” and convention business is starting to rebound.
John Unwin, chief executive officer of the Cosmopolitan, said he expects the resort to bring new customers to Las Vegas. He said this was the so-called “curious class” that includes creative people and artisans.
Unwin said the resort would be aimed at the premium luxury market.
After getting the commission's approval, Unwin said the business was “looking forward to bringing 5,000 jobs to Nevada.”
The resort will have 2,995 rooms, 14 restaurants, three swimming pools, 1,479 slot machines and 83 table games.
Jeffrey Baer, president of Nevada Property 1, said there were still 216 condominium units in dispute and the company will deliver them in the next two months. He said it would “vigorously contest” the suits now filed by dissatisfied people who signed to buy the condos.
Baer also said the price has not changed since the initial offering.
Bernhard got assurance from company officials that Deutsche Bank, which has other investments in Las Vegas, would not share information between companies to the advantage or disadvantage of one company.
The resort plans a soft opening Dec. 15 with a grand opening New Year’s weekend.