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LAS VEGAS-Although Hollywood has taken a sabbatical, with the writer’s strike, Planet Hollywood Towers is moving forward. The project picked up a $400-million construction and development loan last month and the adjacent Planet Hollywood Hotel & Casino will have its star-studded grand opening Nov. 15.

Orlando-based Westgate Resorts Ltd., a national leader in the resort and timeshare industry, closed on the loan, which was arranged by Providence, RI-based Textron Financial Corp. According to a company statement, Textron is also providing through a subsidiary, “presales and receivables financing for the project totaling approximately $250 million.”

According to company officials, the project is the largest so far for Westgate. The privately held timeshare company has 28 developments in 11 states, with more than $800 million in annual revenues. The first phase of Planet Hollywood Towers is scheduled to open in the fall 2009.

The project will have direct access to the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, and will feature 1,200 luxuriously appointed vacation villas, including 28 exclusive penthouse suites. Total sales revenues upon project completion are estimated to exceed $3 billion.

As for Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the project has witnessed a makeover and rebranding of the former Aladdin Resort & Casino. Development saw the renovation of about half of its 2,600 rooms with movie themes. The development group behind the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino includes Douglas P. Teitelbaum, Robert I. Earl and Theodore W. Darnall. Earl is one of the founders of Planet Hollywood.

Teitelbaum is a managing principal of Bay Harbour Management LLC of New York, a company that is in the business of turning around distressed operations. Darnell is an officer with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which will run the hotel under the Sheraton flag. The group announced in September 2004 that it was acquiring the Aladdin property out of bankruptcy for $635 million with plans to transform it into Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino.

The grand opening, taking place from Nov. 15-17, will feature headliners performing in the Mezz Theatre on Thursday and Friday nights and the Planet Hollywood Theatre on Saturday. In a company statement, Earl said, “we are throwing the biggest party Las Vegas has ever seen and we are excited about our entertainment line-up.

Talent for the event includes Jon Stewart, Bruce Willis and the Bruce Willis Blues Band and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy as well as other surprise guests. Barbra Streisand will appear at a private party on Saturday night at the Planet Hollywood Theatre. Later in the evening, Earth Wind & Fire and Sugar Ray will perform in the Grand Ballroom.

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