LAS VEGAS-MGM Mirage last week completed its 33.5-acre land acquisition at the north end of the Strip by paying $444 million for 25.5 acres at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Ave. The smaller part of the deal, eight acres at Circus Circus Drive and the Strip for a total of $131 million, closed earlier this month.

Brokered by Michael Mixer and Alexander Rodrigo, executives of the local Colliers International office, both deals involved 1031 exchange money from MGM‘s sale of its Primm, NV portfolio and the recapitalization of its holdings in Jean, NV. Mixer and Rodrigo say the combined $576-million acquisition represents the largest pure land transaction on Las Vegas Boulevard.

The two parcels connect to each other as well as MGM’s existing assets there, which include the Circus Circus casino resort, giving the company 102 acres to master plan. When MGM put the properties under contract last month, company CFO Jim Murren intimated that the company will take on a partner with which it will design an integrated resort, adding that he already had received “significant interest” from third parties.

Given the Circus Circus atmosphere, one possible partner might be the group of ex-Disney and Universal Studio executives that wants to develop a destination resort here anchored by an indoor snow park and a massive indoor-outdoor water park. Then again, the group has said it is seeking 200 acres, and has been negotiating for land south of McCarran International Airport. Regardless, MGM isn’t yet revealing with whom it is talking.

All told, MGM now controls along Las Vegas Boulevard 865 acres with three miles of Strip frontage, cementing its position as the largest landholder. Its largest current project is the $7.4-billion CityCenter project, which got under way this time last year. Located between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts, the first phase of the development will include a 4,000-room luxury hotel and casino, two 400-room non-gaming hotels, 2,900 condominium units and 500,000 sf of commercial space.

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