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Melco Crown Entertainment Limited Message Board

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  • jeffreyhall jeffreyhall Jul 21, 2007 7:37 PM Flag

    Packer to build Crown Las Vegas . Tallest building in USA

    James Packer, the son of the late Australian media and
    casino magnate Kerry Packer, has reportedly reached a partnership agreement that could result in the building of a Crown-branded casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

    Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd. (PBL), the company Kerry Packer created and which the younger Packer now controls, announced an agreement with Austin, Texas-based developer Christopher Milam. Milam holds purchase options for the site of the former Wet n� Wild water theme park adjacent to the Sahara Hotel & Casino on the Strip�s north end. Milam, who confirmed the partnership to the Las Vegas Review Journal last week, has shown interest in building his own 1,888-foot-tall tower on the site.

    PBL paid $22.5 million for a 37.5 percent stake in LVTI�the holding company Milam created for the Strip development project. The Crown Las Vegas project would include a 5,000-room hotel, 250,000 square feet of casino space and 625,000 square feet of retail, dining, entertainment and convention space. The property is expected to take four years to build and would be operated by Crown Ltd., a new subsidiary of PBL.

    It�s the second deal Packer has made on the Las Vegas Strip. In April, PBL spent $250 million to acquire a 19.6 percent stake in Fontainebleau Resorts, a Las Vegas-based company that is currently building its $2.8 billion resort-casino project on the north end of the Strip as well. That project is slated for a 2009-opening.

    The moves are part of the younger Packer�s plans to expand PBL�s gaming enterprises globally. In May, the company opened its $540 million Crown Macau Casino in the Chinese enclave. But Packer and PBL have yet to be licensed for gaming in Nevada, the Packer family�s past dealings�including Lawrence Ho, the son of Chinese businessman Stanley Ho, with whom PBL partnered with to build the Macau property�are likely to be closely scrutinized. Stanly Ho has battled allegations that his casino operations have been riddled with organized crime, money laundering, drug trafficking and prostitution. MGM Mirage, which partnered with daughter Pansy Ho for it�s MGM Grand Macau project, recently had to explain its agreements in detail to gaming regulators throughout the United States before receiving approval.

    As for Packer�s PBL, �We will take a look at all his partners,� said Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairman Dennis Neilander. �It would still be something that we would have to look at.�

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