Trump breaks ground on luxury Las Vegas Strip hotel-condo - Tuesday 12th of July 2005

Donald Trump broke ground Tuesday on a luxury hotel-condominium designed to be the tallest residential building on the Las Vegas Strip, and promised a second identical tower nearby.

He wields big scissors: And a lot of power. Trump, left, cuts the ribbon with partner Paul Ruffin.

The 64-story building — in gold glass with white trim and Trumps name at the top — will be built on a portion of the New Frontier hotel-casino property across from the newly opened Wynn Las Vegas resort and next to the Fashion Show Mall.

"Were going to be the top of the heap," Trump said as he arrived for the catered affair, which featured billionaire partner Phil Ruffin, owner of the New Frontier, and more than 150 invited guests including casino mogul and friendly rival Steve Wynn.

Trump said condos, priced from $600,000 to $6 million, sold out within a week. He said he expects to break ground soon for a second tower on Ruffin-owned land.

"Oftentimes, good advice is, Never get into business with a good friend," Ruffin said before he and Trump stood on a stage in a blazing sun flanked by beauty queens and Las Vegas showgirls and cut a gold ribbon. "In this case, our partnership has worked very, very well."

The Trump International Hotel & Tower Las Vegas is expected to cost $500 million and feature 1,282 luxury residential and hotel units, a spa and restaurants. It wont have a casino, but Trump said Tuesday that he plans eventually to build one elsewhere.

"This is a different project," said the developer of the Trump Plaza, Trump Marina and Trump Taj Mahal casinos in Atlantic City "I can do a casino if I want in Nevada. But I wanted to do what Im successful with in New York."

The Las Vegas project is patterned after the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York, where Trump also has several other luxury residential buildings.

At 645 feet, the 2 million square-foot Las Vegas tower would put Trumps name in block letters slightly above two neighboring hotel-casinos.

One is Sheldon Adelsons 53-story, 642-foot-tall The Palazzo resort, being built next to Adelsons The Venetian hotel-casino. The new $1.6 billion tower is scheduled to open with 3,000 rooms in early 2007.

Wynns scripted name is atop the curvy $2.6 billion Wynn Las Vegas hotel, which opened April 28. At 50 stories, it stands 613 feet above Las Vegas Boulevard.

"Im glad Donalds here," Wynn said Tuesday. "Donald jazzes up the neighborhood."

The Trump tower is expected to be completed in early 2008.

It wont be the tallest building on the Strip. The Stratosphere tower remains the tallest structure in Las Vegas and west of the Mississippi River, at more than 1,100 feet. The adjacent hotel-casino is 24 stories.

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