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LAS VEGAS-The $225-million sale of the Hooters Hotel & Casino here remains on track thanks to a $1.5-million non-refundable deposit payment from the buyer, Hedwigs Las Vegas Top Tier LLC, an affiliate of the investment group led by NTH Advisory Group LLC. The seller, 155 East Tropicana LLC, says in an SEC filing this week that it accepted the payment despite it being 11 days late.

Formerly Hotel San Remo Casino and Resort, Hooters Casino Hotel is located one-half block from the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. Reopened as Hooters in February 2006, the property has been unable to achieve the average 95% hotel occupancy rate that is typical of Strip and near-Strip resorts, though it has been on the rise. Occupancy averaged 87.9% in the third quarter, up from 80.7% in the third quarter of 2006, according to SEC filings.

The agreement calls for Hedwigs to pay $95 million in cash for the 696-room property as well as assume $130 million of 8 ¾% Senior Secured Notes due 2012. In addition, the seller has agreed to lease back the casino operations for $540,000 per month until the buyer is properly licensed.

The sale, announced in January, is slated to close sometime before April 30, 2008. The buyer signed the purchase agreement in May and has made several million dollars of non-refundable deposits, according to SEC filings.

NTH Advisory Group LLC is a Santa Monica, CA-based casino and hotel development and advisory firm led by Richard Bosworth. 155 East Tropicana is a partnership of Florida Hooters LLC and EW Common LLC. EW Common is owned 90% by Eastern & Western and 10% by Michael J. Hessling, formerly the executive vice president and chief executive officer of Hotel San Remo, and currently the president of 155 East Tropicana.

155 East Tropicana agreed to acquire the real property and other assets of Hotel San Remo in 2004 for approximately $72.5 million. The acquisition was funded in part through a term loan totaling $48.5 million that was used to extinguish Hotel San Remo’s then existing indebtedness of $43.7 million, to pay the former owner of Hotel San Remo $1.3 million and for the issuance to EW Common LLC of a 33.3% membership interest with priority return valued at $20 million.

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