STAMFORD, CT-What do Debbie Reynolds and the World Wrestling Federation have in common? Both were sent to the mat trying to make a go of a small hotel/casino off the Las Vegas Strip.

WWF Entertainment Inc. reports it has sold its WWF Hotel and Casino at 305 Convention Center Dr. for $11.2 million to Convention Center Drive LLC., an affiliate company of Mark IV Realty Group Inc. of Chicago. The WWF had purchased the 200-room, 12-story sf facility in August 1998 in an auction.

The hotel was previously owned by entertainer/movie star Debbie Reynolds who had operated the hotel/casino as the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and Casino but could not bring the facility to profitability. The WWF, shortly after acquiring the property, announced it would develop a $100-million wrestling-themed entertainment/casino complex at the property.

WWF officials estimate the Stamford-based company will record a profit of approximately $1 million on the sale of the hotel. According to Judd Everhart, a WWF spokesman, the sales transaction closed last week.

John Marks, managing partner of Convention Center Drive LLC and CEO of Mark IV Realty Group, says his firm has already begun operating the facility and plans to upgrade the hotel/convention center complex, which totals approximately 150,000 sf. He noted that the facility had been marketed for the budget conscious and with the appropriate upgrades being made, it can cater to a new customer base.

WWF’s Everhart comments, “We had plans for a wrestling-themed entertainment complex. Once we bought it, we realized that this particular facility would not meet our expectations.” He adds that although the WWF does not currently have plans to develop a wrestling-themed hotel/casino in Las Vegas, he would not rule out the company revisiting the concept some time in the future.

The only other real estate-related enterprise currently being operated by the WWF is the company’s WWF New York restaurant in Times Square. The 46,000-sf restaurant has been highly successful since its opening earlier this year, Everhart says. The WWF New York has been incorporated into WWF television broadcast events such as “Sunday Night Heat,” “Monday Night Raw” and “WWF Smack Down.”

The only remaining interest the WWF has in Nevada is the Las Vegas Outlaws, a professional football team that is a member of WWF’s upstart XFL, which will kick off its inaugural season on Feb. 3, 2001.

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