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ATLANTIC CITY-This past year’s fall-off in casino business here is apparently no deterrent to interest in investing in this market. Two highly publicized deals, one a forced sale and one a redevelopment, are drawing proposals with some very big numbers attached.

First, there’s the Tropicana, which owner Columbia Sussex Corp. is being forced to sell after the Casino Control Commission denied its re-licensing recently, citing concerns about its management capabilities. A couple of weeks ago, Los Angles-based Colony Capital and partner Nicholas Ribis, vice chairman of Resorts International Inc., put an $850-million offer on the table for the 2,129-room hotel/casino.

Now, amidst a new multi-media ad campaign launched by the hotel to try to win business back, a $950-million offer for the sprawling property has emerged, put forward by a partnership headed by Joseph Palladino. Palladino is principal of acquisitions for the New York City-based Private Family Office, a private capital group.

According to published reports, Palladino’s group is described as including individuals “well-known in the casino industry.” Declining to identify those individuals, he has promised to make their identities known shortly. According to a source, that could come as early as this week.

“We want to…take the Tropicana back to where it belongs,” Palladino says, in a statement. His group could not be reached for further comment. In the meantime, former New Jersey Supreme Court justice Gary Stein, who’s overseeing the Trop’s operations until it’s sold, has forwarded Palladino’s offer to Bear Stearns, which is analyzing offers for the property.

Other suitors that have been mentioned, but from which offers have yet to be received, include Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun, Pinnacle Entertainment, Ameristar, the Cordish Co. and Penn National Gaming. Penn National has emerged in another case, however. The Wyomissing, PA-based racetrack and casino operator has put an $800-million offer on the table to buy the 150-acre site of the closed Bader Field Airport. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the city this month named the state’s Casino Reinvestment Development Authority as the site’s redevelopment agent, with the responsibility of finding an ultimate redeveloper for the valuable tract in exchange for tax relief funds flowing back into the city’s coffers.

Penn National’s offer would apparently sidestep the CRDA process, calling for a subdivision of the site. Details released by the company lay out a plan under which three or four casino/hotels properties would rise on the site, with a total of as many as 6,000 rooms. The company would itself develop one of the parcels and farm the others out.

As far as the financials, Penn National is offering cash upfront totaling $100 million, in two $50-million payments over the next two years. That money would be utilized by the city for tax-relief purposes, according to a draft of the proposal.

“It is a serious proposal. We are taking a major risk in order to redevelop Bader Field, and there is appropriate tax relief for all parties,” says a Penn National spokesman, who declined further comment.

Wynn Resorts, Boyd Gaming and Pinnacle Entertainment are other names that have been mentioned in connection with the Bader Field site.

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