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  • Billionaire Carl Icahn Lands a Bargain on The Strip

    Posted on January 28, 2010 by Jordan

    Investor Carl Icahn bought one of the best bargains on the market when he was named the winner of the auction for the bankrupt Fontainebleau Las Vegas. Icahn won the auction for the Fontainebleau property on the Strip, with a bid of $150 million, including $105 million in cash. The price is small compared to the nearly $2 billion already put in by the former developer, Miami-based Fontainebleau Resorts.

    Billionaire financier and casino veteran Carl Icahn’s $150 million bid was accepted over two unidentified competing bids.The win was almost inevitable since he'd been approved by gaming regulators and was deemed the only qualified bidder in the auction. The sale's expected to close Feb. 9 but Icahn hasn’t decided whether he’ll restart construction or sit on the 70%-completed building till better times arrive.

    Carl Icahn has a tendency of buying undervalued or mismanaged properties that he knows is going to be a bargain and he makes good money off of them. He sold American Casino & Entertainment Properties, which owned the Stratosphere and both Arizona Charlie's, in February 2008 for $1.3 billion. Icahn had acquired those properties in bankruptcy or at depressed values.

    The new owner of the Fontainebleau stated that he won’t turn the resort into a condo-hotel, nor into condos exclusively, which were originally announced as a possibility. Roughly half the rooms are already carpeted and wallpapered, with furniture in storage. A small crew, paid by Icahn’s $50 million in temporary financing, is maintaining the property. It’s estimated that maintenance, security, and taxes on the structure, even closed, will run $25 million per year.

    Nearly 7,800 new rooms opened in Las Vegas during the fourth quarter between CityCenter, Planet Hollywood Resort, Hard Rock Hotel and the Golden Nugget. Additionally, Caesars Palace has the 660-room Octavius Tower that sits unfinished. Harrah’s alone has up to 23,000 rooms on the Strip, but it’s not even close to the most, because with the opening of CityCenter, MGM Mirage now has more than 41,000 rooms on the Strip. There's no reason to build anything on the Strip for a long time because there's extra capacity there already, which means that Carl Icahn bought himself a nice property.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • High Vacancy Rates in Office Buildings

    Posted on January 27, 2010 by Jordan

    There are a growing number of "For Lease" signs hanging on office buildings in Las Vegas making it the worst-performing commercial real estate market in decades. The empty spaces are also bringing a halt to any new construction projects around the Las Vegas area. Colliers International commercial brokerage in Las Vegas reported fourth-quarter office vacancy rose to 22.5 percent on an inventory of 41.4 million square feet, while average asking rents dropped 13 cents from a year ago to $2.27 a square foot. CB Richard Ellis brokerage reported similar trends for the fourth quarter, with vacancy at 23 percent, asking lease rates at $1.96 a foot and negative absorption of 310,683 square feet.

    An alarming number of office buildings constructed in the past few years are still without tenants and facing foreclosure. The number of properties that have received a notice of default or are in some stage of foreclosure grew from 2.1 million square feet in the third quarter to 2.5 million square feet by the end of 2009. It stood at 460,000 square feet in mid-2009. The buildings became popular with developers in 2006 and 2007. More than 2.7 million square feet were completed then with a vacancy rate averaging 24 percent. However, in 2008 the vacancy rate in newly completed Class C properties jumped to 59 percent and those finished in 2009’s fourth quarter were a disturbing 99 percent vacant.

    The fourth quarter has historically been weak for office space, but the current economy is not helping the situation right now. Most of the major office users, including the national companies are hesitant of making a commitment to anything long term. The office market expanded modestly with a 48,000-square-foot project, bringing total inventory to 49.5 million square feet at the end of the year. The 957,700 square feet of office space completed in 2009 was the lowest in six years and it's likely that much of the 414,800 square feet under construction will not be completed for several quarters.

    Employment in sectors traditionally associated with office space depleted for the fifth straight quarter. It’s estimated that about 6,900 office jobs have been lost since November 2008, most of them in professional and business services. The bright spot has been health care and social assistance, which added 1,400 jobs during this same period. Colliers reported the highest vacancy rate was in the southwest valley at 31 percent, followed by near the airport, 25 percent, and the northwest valley, at 24.6 percent. The lowest vacancy rate was 11 percent in downtown Las Vegas. High-end Class A office space had the highest vacancy rate at 30.3 percent, while medical offices had the lowest vacancy rate at 10.3 percent. Health services, insurance services, legal services and travel and leisure companies accounted for 44 percent of the new office tenants in Southern Nevada.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • Debt-Free Tropicana Seeks New Life With $125 Million Upgrade

    Posted on January 26, 2010 by Jordan

    The Las Vegas Tropicana’s first upgrade in 25 years is almost complete as it will be the first major casino company to emerge from bankruptcy in the recession. Although the project is will not fully open until spring 2010, Tropicana Entertainment offers a sign of hope for local companies who are caught up in the worst downturn this industry has ever seen. Less than two years after its bankruptcy filing, Tropicana Entertainment’s debt has been wiped clean, and the company’s new owner, billionaire Carl Icahn, is injecting $150 million to pay creditors along with $125 million for improvements to the properties.

    Up until now, the Tropicana had remained unchanged since its last renovation in 1985. A $125 million facelift was announced last July shortly after the hotel-casino emerged from bankruptcy as a stand-alone company under the leadership of Alex Yemenidjian. The makeover included redesigning Tropicana’s casino floor, hotel rooms, convention space, restaurants, pool and adding a nightclub to bring the hotel-casino up to speed. The company also announced a new leadership team, including the Stratosphere’s former food and beverage vice president, Jim Laughlin, who took on Tropicana’s new dining ventures.

    Also as part of the upgrade, Tropicana added two new restaurants in an effort to further revamp the property. The Tropicana opened Italian restaurant Bacio Pasta and Vino, which is an intimate Italian bistro with large murals and mounted wine racks. Former Harrah’s, Rio and Las Vegas Hilton executive chef George Bargisen also will serve as executive chef at Bacio. Bargisen brings more than 20 years of resort experience to the new restaurant. The second new restaurant is Havana GO GO, which has replaced Tropicana’s Java Java coffee shop. Havana GO GO with serve quick eats like coffee, pastries, soups, paninis and pizzas. Tropicana wanted the new and revamped restaurants to be a glimpse of the South Beach feel the property is aiming for in its $125 million renovation and rebranding.

    The property also released an updated logo last month as the first step in the resort’s rebranding campaign. The Paradise Tower rooms have been redone and are first that will be opened this spring. The Island Tower walkway, which once held a string of kiosks selling novelty items, has been revamped with white marble and is vendor-free. The next phase of the project will include remodeled rooms in the Island and Garden Towers, a nightclub, a sports book and exterior renovations.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • VIP Promotions for ALL U.S. Players at Rushmore Casino

    Posted on January 25, 2010 by Jordan

    Looking for the thrill of Las Vegas from the comfort of your home, a recommended source for online action is Rushmore Casino. Consistently one of the most trusted names on the internet, Rushmore Casino has taken the necessary means to provide players with convenient deposit and withdrawal options. Great for players from all over the world especially US can enjoy a first-class gaming experience by downloading Rushmore's gaming software or through an online instant Flash version.  Not only do you get a massive $888 fist deposit bonus just for joining, you can also take advantage of other great offers for the specific games you love. Play at Rushmore Casino for real cash or for free and feel what it’s like to be treated like a VIP.

    For those who love playing the Slots, Rushmore has a Special Slot Bonus will give you 400% match bonus worth up to $2400. It’s a must that before you’re ready to spin away you take advantage of this amazing offer. Who doesn’t like extra free spins? All you have to do is use the Coupon Code: SLOTS400 when you make a deposit and you’re in on the free cash.

    There is also a great bonus for the Blackjack players out there. Rushmore’s Blackjack Bonus gets you 200% match bonus worth up to $1000 when you use the Coupon Code: DOUBLEDOWN in the "Redeem Coupon" section of the cashier after making your first deposit. Be sure to grab some extra cash to take to the table with this free money offer.

    Play at a whole new level because Rushmore VIPs are at the top of the online gaming world, with a rewards program to match. The benefits of membership only increase over time, so don't waste any time. Join this reward program before you start playing and as a token of appreciation the Rushmore VIP team will send you a generous bonus gift, which is only the first of many perks. On weekdays, Rushmore VIP members receive huge bonuses for each of ten deposits per day, from Monday morning to Friday noon, worth up to $37,500! During the Weekend Bonanza’s VIP members get bonuses that will triple their balance, on their first five deposits of the weekend, for a total of $5,000! The subsequent five weekend deposits trigger match bonuses of up to $3,750. That makes a total of $8,750 in available bonuses from Friday noon until the end of Sunday just for becoming a VIP member.

    The games at Rushmore online casino are powered by RTG software, otherwise known as Real Time Gaming. This is one of the oldest and most trusted online casino software companies on the web. Rushmore Casino is closely monitored and audited by external companies for security and fairness. This means that people can feel safe while playing some of their 80 exciting games to choose from at Rushmore. There is a huge selection of 3 reel slots, 5 reel video slots with exciting bonus games. Rushmore Casino has a great reputation for their selection of slots games, but they also offer a large choice of blackjack, roulette and several video poker games. Also offered are several Progressive Slots, Bingo, poker games like Caribbean stud, and several other popular casino table games.

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    This post was posted in Vegas News

  • Gaming Supplier IGT Profits Increase Even Though Sales Drop

    Posted on January 24, 2010 by Jordan

    International Game Technology (IGT) cost-cutting plan set a while back made up for reduced revenues from slower-than-expected first-quarter slot machine sales. IGT saw its profit increase by 20 percent during the first quarter of 2010. The Reno-based gaming manufacturer reported net income of $73.3 million, or 25 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2010, compared to $61.2 million, or 21 cents per share, during the same period of 2009.

    Although the company saw its revenue fall more than 14 percent from $601.6 million to $515.7 million during the year-over-year period, they managed to build up their profits. About 54 percent of first quarter revenue was generated from gaming operations while 46 percent was from product sales. Revenue from product sales declined 17 percent during the quarter to $238.4 million, compared to $288.3 million a year ago. Gaming operations revenue totaled $277.3 million during the first quarter of 2010, compared to $313.3 million in the same period last year. During the first quarter, historically the slowest of the year, however IGT shipped more North American replacement units than the prior year quarter.

    With all of the casinos in Las Vegas there are literally thousands of slot machines that people can choose from. IGT unveiled its “Sex and the City” slot machine at the Global Gaming Expo in November, which the company expected to be an immediate success. In the first few months on the floor the game is out-performing IGT’s initial expectations. Their first bonus-heavy game “Sex in the City” offers more entertainment for the player, because they won’t have to wait long to hit a bonus on these new slot games. IGT programmed the new machine to hit a bonus, on average, once every 25 spins, where as a more typical bonus frequency is 40 spins to 100 spins.

    The company also just announced the addition of two new executives this week. Gideon Bierer, a former senior vice president at MTV, joined IGT as the company’s vice president of new media while Susan Macke, formerly of Hewlett-Packard, is the company’s new chief marketing officer. In addition to its North American locations, IGT maintains sales, service and manufacturing sites around the globe - in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and South America. IGT's international machine sales are growing more of the company's total sales numbers.

    This post was posted in Vegas News

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