This morning, published reports state that the Wet 'n' Wild siteis up for grabs and plans for the multibillion-dollar Crown LasVegas development on the site are in flux. Texas developerChristopher Milam and Australian billionaire James Packer have anoption to acquire the property from Archon Corp. and have made tensof millions of dollars worth of refundable and non-refundableoption payments to keep alive their opportunity to acquire theproperty for $475 million. Another published report states thismorning that Milam reportedly hopes to maintain his interest in theproperty.

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Last week, as the developers of the Plaza project, EL AD IDB LasVegas LLC, received county approvals for its site development planand special use permit, published reports were speculating that theproject may be delayed due to the dislocated credit markets. MikiNaftali, president of El-Ad Group, the parent of one of the jointventure partners, refuted those reports, saying the project ismoving forward. The partnership, which also includes Property &Building Corp., a subsidiary of Israeli-based IDB Holdings Corp.,says design completion and the start of the excavation arescheduled to occur before the end of the year.

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Also last week, Deutsche Bank notified developers of theCosmopolitan that it will begin foreclosure proceedings on the$3-billion, center-Strip mixed-use development for which it is thelender, according to Reuters. As recently as the end of February,it was reported that to fix a month-old default on its $760-millionconstruction loan from Deutsche Bank, Global Hyatt Corp. and NewYork City-based Marathon Asset Management had agreed to provide theequity necessary to keep the project moving forward toward itsscheduled completion in late 2009.

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Cosmopolitan chief operating officer Scott Butera reportedlytold a local newspaper at that time that the parties werefinalizing the terms of the recapitalization agreement withDeutsche Bank and that Eichner would continue to have a role in thefour-million-sf development under construction next to theBellagio.

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In a statement sent to GlobeSt.com when the troubles with theCosmopolitan began, Eichner said 3700 Associates LLC, the officialdevelopment entity, was working with Deutsche Bank and MerrillLynch to find new investors and that conversations were ongoing."This [default] action by our lender comes as no surprise," hesaid. "With the current challenges within the real estate and debtcapital markets, which are out of our control, being felt acrossthe country, we both anticipated and planned for this." In astatement issued earlier this week, Eichner said the foreclosuremove by Deutsche Bank was merely a means for the lender "to engagea greater number of serious potential [new] investors" in theproject.

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Whether or not these projects get under way as scheduled,several other major Strip projects have just been completed or areunder construction and not under any official financial troubles.The $2.1-billion Palazzo resort just opened. Wynn's $2-billionEncore project is on track to open at year's end. Further out,MGM's $7-billion Project Citycenter is moving toward a late 2009completion, Boyd Gaming is under construction for the $4-billionEchelon Place complex, which is scheduled to open in 2010, andPacker's company Crown, according to the Sydney Morning Heraldarticle, remains committed to the $3-billion Fontainebleau Resortthat its US partner Turnberry Associates has under constructionacross from Circus Circus at the north end of the Strip.

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Beyond that, investors are still planning new mega projects andmajor renovations of existing properties, and assembling big chunksof gaming-zoned land. FX Real Estate and Entertainment Inc., thepublicly traded owner of 17.72 acres across from ProjectCitycenter, revealed its development plans this week in a filingwith the Securities and Exchange Commission. Formed in 2007 and runby Robert F.X. Sillerman and Paul C. Kanavos, the company said itplans to spend $3.1 billion redeveloping the site with 3,047 hotelrooms, a 93,000-sf casino, 94,000 sf of retail, 100,000 sf ofentertainment venues and 147 private residences.

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"Our current operations do not generate sufficient revenue, whencombined with cash on hand, to support our development plans forthe Park Central site," the company states in its filing."Therefore, the redevelopment of the Park Central site is dependentupon our ability to raise significant amounts of additionalcapital, likely through debt and/or equity financings."

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In February, the new owners of the Sahara Hotel and Casino woncounty approval for a planned renovation and expansion of the1950s-era Strip property featured in the original "Ocean's Eleven"film. Plans call for demolition of the mid-rise hotel tower,renovation of the two high-rise towers and development of a thirdhigh-rise tower. The resort would remain open throughout theproject, which is slated for completion in 2011.

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Also on Las Vegas Boulevard but well south of what is consideredthe Strip, an international group of investors over the lastseveral months have assembled 110 acres of raw land across from theLas Vegas Outlet Center at a cost of approximately $360 million, or$3.3 million per acre. The group is led by SDS Investments, aprivate equity real estate fund sponsored by the SapirOrganization, a privately held New York City-based real estateholding and development firm that controls some seven million sf ofNew York City commercial office space.

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S. Lawrence Davis, who left Emmes & Co. to form SDSInvestments with Alex and Tamir Sapir and Robert Ivanhoe, chair ofthe New York City office of GeenbergTraurig, tells GlobeSt.com thatwhile there are no near-term plans for the property and nodevelopment time line, the group does not see itself as a landspeculator. "We bought it with the intention of developing it witha large, multi-use commercial development," he says.

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