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LAS VEGAS-Casino-resort veteran Daniel M. Wade will direct the development of the multibillion-dollar Plaza Las Vegas project as its chief operating officer. The former MGM Mirage executive and director will work closely with Miki Naftali, president of Elad Group, which owns the land for the project in a joint venture with IDB Group USA Investments Inc.

Plaza Las Vegas will rise on the 34.5-acre site of the shuttered New Frontier, which will be demolished by implosion in the fall. Elad IBD Las Vegas paid $1.24 billion or about $36 million per acre for the property earlier this month.

The project is being loosely modeled after the Plaza Hotel in New York City, which Elad acquired in 2005 for $675 million. Elad is now close to completing a $400-million renovation of the property, which Elad is converting into a mix of condo-hotel rooms, private residences and retail.

Naftali says the Plaza Las Vegas will be positioned at the “highest end” of the Las Vegas market. Completion is slated for 2011.

Wade, a 25-year veteran of the casino-resort industry, left MGM Mirage early last year after 15 years with the company. Most recently MGM Mirage’s vice-chairman of the board, Wade previously was an executive vice president with MGM Mirage. From June 1995 to October 1998, Wade served as president and COO of the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

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