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LAS VEGAS- MGM Mirage is actively exploring the sale of undeveloped land on the Las Vegas Strip and elsewhere as it looks to improve its liquidity position in these tough economic times. The potential land sales, revealed Monday morning at an investor conference, are part of a larger disposition of non-core assets by the company that includes three company airplanes.

“We have an awful lot of land on the Strip, in the county and in the state,” Murren reportedly said, estimating the company could raise about $300 million from such dispositions. “Land prices may be down but in many cases they are still far above what we have on our books.”

Most recently, in May 2007, MGM Mirage paid two different owners $576 million, about $17 million per acre, for 33.5 contiguous acres adjacent to MGM’s Circus Circus hotel-casino property at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. The current status of the development joint venture it inked with Kerzner International Holdings and Istithmar Hotels FZE one month later was not immediately available.

Per the agreement, MGM and Kerzner each formed their joint ventures that then formed a combined 50-50 joint venture. The MGM JV’s land contribution to the combined JV, valued at $20 million per acre or $800 million, was to be met by a $600-million contribution from the Kerzner JV, of which $200 million was to be paid by the combined JV to the MGM JV such that each member’s contribution to the combined JV is $600 million. The contributions are required to made in full by spring 2009, according to the agreement.

At the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, the company owns 20 acres immediately south of the Mandalay Bay resort and an additional 15 acres across the Strip from the Luxor, according to SEC filings. Off the Strip, the company owns 66 adjacent to Shadow Creek in North Las Vegas and 47 acres adjacent to Railroad Pass in Henderson, NV.Outside of Las Vegas, the company owns 125 acres adjacent to the Prim Valley Golf Club in Prim, NV, and, although not undeveloped, 116 acres straddling Interstate 15 in Jean, NV. The Jean, NV portfolio includes two small casinos and two gas stations. In February 2007, the company announced it was selling a 50% stake in the portfolio for $75 million en route to a master-planned redevelopment. One of the casino hotels, Nevada Landing, was shut down one month later but the Gold Strike hotel-casino and the gas stations remain open.

The company also has an interest in the $700-million M Resort, Spa and Casino under construction 11 miles south of the Strip. MGM Mirage became a partner in the M Resort development by way of a $160-million subordinated convertible note it provided in April 2007. MGM Mirage has the right to convert the note into a 50% equity interest in the development after 18 months of the note’s issuance if not previously repaid. M Resort developer Anthony Marnell told GlobeSt.com in August that MGM would indeed become a 50-50 partner in the project by the time November rolled around.

The development includes the 11-story M Resort with 390 rooms and suites; 90,000 square feet of gaming space; 60,000 square feet of meeting and conference facilities; a 23,000-square-foot spa; a 2.3-acre pool and events area; a wine cellar and tasting room; a top-floor lounge and nine restaurants. The structures, including a 2,000-slip parking garage, cover about 12 of 95 contiguous acres controlled by Marnell III.

All told, MGM now controls along Las Vegas Boulevard some 865 acres with three miles of Strip frontage, cementing its position as the area’s largest landholder. Its largest current development project is Citycenter. Located between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts and on track to open late next year, the $11-billion development will include a 4,000-room luxury hotel and casino, two 400-room non-gaming hotels, 2,900 condominium units and 500,000 square feet of commercial space.

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