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LAS VEGAS-The Las Vegas Sands Corp. has won approval to separate the apartment portion of its Four Seasons Hotel in Macao from other elements of the project, paving the way for sales of cooperatives like those in New York City. The government of Macao, which is a special administrative region of China, has granted Sands Corp. approval to separate the company’s Four Seasons apartment hotel tower from the other components of its Four Seasons parcel on the Cotai Strip.

Sheldon G. Adelson, chairman and chief executive officer of Las Vegas Sands Corp., said in a statement Wednesday that the company’s strategic business plan “has always anticipated the sale of apartments in either the condominium or cooperative form of ownership.” Along with cash flow from the company’s retail malls, the proceeds from the sales are expected to be used to de-leverage the Sand balance sheet or to provide additional to build our future developments.

The Sands began taking reservations several weeks ago from its waiting list of prospective buyers of the cooperatives—in anticipation of the government approval of the separation of the apartments from the hotel. The company has now accepted reservations for 65 units, or about 22% of the project, at prices averaging more than $1,700 per sf. Approximately two-thirds of the reservations have come from buyers who live outside of Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macao.

The Sands’ properties in Macao include the Venetian Casino and the Four Seasons Hotel,Adelson acknowledged the “less than ideal” financing environment for selling cooperatives and condominiums, but he said that the Las Vegas-based corporation believes in the “uniqueness of the product” and its Four Seasons brand as factors that will drive sales. The Sands Corp. owns and operates the Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel and the Sands Macao in China, along with its Las Vegas properties, and is also creating the Cotai Strip, a master-planned development of resort-casino properties in Macao.

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