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LAS VEGAS-Las Vegas Sands Corp. said Thursday that the skinny 50-story condo tower rising at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip is now the St. Regis Residences thanks to an agreement with the owner of the brand, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. The 398-unit luxury residential project is under construction between Las Vegas Sands’ Palazzo and Venetian resorts and slated to open in March 2010. The financial details of the relationship have not yet been revealed by either party.

The condo tower is rising on land owned by Steven Johnson, a low-key investor-developer from Scottsdale, AZ, and James Peterson of Albuquerque. The duo acquired the 0.64-acre former restaurant site in April 2003 for $32.5 million, which equates to more than $50 million per acre, by far the highest ever paid for land on the Las Vegas Strip. Johnson told GlobeSt.com last year that he and Peterson own the first two floors of the condo building, one of which will be leased to Walgreen’s, and that Las Vegas Sands controls the air rights above the first two floors via lease and sale agreements.

Earlier this year, Las Vegas Sands said it would cost $600 million to develop the condominium tower, $135 million more than it thought in April 2007. At that time, the company said it expected to spend $465 million developing the units but stood to make as much as $1.94 billion selling them off. If achieved, it would equate to an average sales price of $2,000 per sf, making it the priciest residential offering ever on the Las Vegas Strip.

Heading off speculation about the soundness of a condo development in Las Vegas given the state of the economy, Las Vegas Sands’ chairman Sheldon Adelson says in a prepared statement that quality and luxury sell in any type of financial environment and, when combined with the premium location of these residences, he believes the company has a surefire winner.

Buyers will have the option to purchase a fully-furnished “move-in ready” residence with furniture packages from several world-renowned designers. Residences will range in size from 1,700 sf to over 10,000 sf for a duplex villa with private pool.

“The interiors of these units will be among the finest in the world, with no detail overlooked, no expense spared, and each created by an all-star branded design team,” Adelson said. “Along with superior design and the property’s exclusive amenities–including butler service–every one of these residences will be further enhanced by the breathtaking views….”

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