Rolling Stone Magazine Wants Casino - Tuesday 7th of February 2006

LAS VEGAS The owner of Rolling Stone magazine is making a bid to turn Alexis Park on Harmon Avenue into a $500 million hotel-casino that would attract the same customers as the nearby Hard Rock Hotel, a real estate source said Wednesday.

The New York Observer reported that Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner visited Las Vegas over the weekend to work on development plans for a rock 'n' roll-themed resort using the magazine's licensed name.

Neither a location nor details of a real estate transaction were revealed.

A source in Las Vegas who asked not to be identified said Wenner is looking at the 17-acre site of the Alexis Park, a nongaming hotel that was purchased by Los Angeles investor Richard Alter and his partners for $62 million in 2004.

The source said Alter has had the property in escrow more than once, but has run up against differences with his Asian business partners on how to proceed with development.

Alter said he is not selling the property to Rolling Stone magazine and ended a Wednesday telephone conversation by abruptly hanging up.

When he bought Alexis Park, Alter said he was going to invest $400 million renovating the property with a 28-story hotel tower, 60,000-square-foot casino, restaurants and health spa. Room inventory would be expanded from 500 to 1,500.

Alter's company, L.A. Pacific Center, also bought a 4.5-acre apartment complex next to the hotel for $8.1 million, Clark County Assessor's records show.

Harmon Avenue is being transformed into a corridor of hip, new development with an estimated $20 billion in planned projects, including the Hard Rock expansion, Las Ramblas by George Clooney, Starwood's W Las Vegas, MGM Mirage's Project CityCenter and Bruce Eichner's Cosmopolitan.

A spokesman for the Hard Rock said owner Peter Morton has been a longtime friend of Jann Wenner. And, while nothing has been confirmed, should the Rolling Stone hotel go through, the spokesman said, Morton would welcome the competition and thinks it would be good for the Las Vegas market.

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