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LAS VEGAS-Intercontinental Hotels Group has cut a franchise deal with local investor Andrew Lai for a 386-room, Asian-themed Crown Plaza-branded casino resort just across Interstate 15 from Treasure Island and Fashion Show Las Vegas. The hotel will be located on West Spring Mountain Road, just east of the city’s designated Chinatown District, which flanks Spring Mountain Road between Valley View and Decatur boulevards. The hotel is expected to open in 2010.

Andrew Lai will develop and operate the resort, which will include a 28,000-sf casino, three restaurants, three lounges, a full-service spa and outdoor swimming pool, as well as a fitness center, business center, retail and meeting space. Lai tells GlobeSt.com that the total project cost will be approximately $170 million. Lai says he has financing from “overseas,” but declined to be more specific.

Covering approximately two acres on the northeast corner of Spring Mountain Road and Polaris Avenue, Lai’s Cogent Investment LLC acquired the four-parcel development site in mid-2006 by for approximately $6 million before the county put a gaming overlay on the area. A recent appraisal estimated the property’s value at $28 million, Lai says.

Lai owns the hotel property by himself but he owns another 30 acres in the immediate area with Susan Krygiell, a longtime local broker and investor who helped assemble the acreage and obtain the gaming overlay for the area. Krygiell tells GlobeSt.com they have entitlements in place for 3,700 condo-hotel units and several hundred thousand square feet of gaming and retail.

“We decided that a project of this size needs gaming, so we went forward and took the risk to hire all the right consultants to try to get the gaming overlay,” Krygiell says. “As luck would have it, the county was in the process of changing the master plan for the area.”

As a result, Lai says land they acquired for $600,000 per acre is now worth closer to $11 million an acre. Krygiell says the properties almost all have existing buildings on them that are producing income while they wait for the market to rebound.

Another large property owner in the area is the Ribeiro Cos., which a couple of years back had 30 acres in the immediate area rezoned from industrial to accommodate a mixed-use development that would include 3,400 residential units, 2,200 hotel rooms and retail in 10 buildings. A company official could not be reached Friday for comment.

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