Crown Resorts wants to make a deal for its vacant acreage on the Strip just north of Fashion Show Drive in Las Vegas, but only for the right price.
In late 2016, Crown announced it was abandoning Alon, a planned 1,100-room casino resort across from Wynn Las Vegas. The Australian hospitality and entertainment conglomerate is now looking to sell the 34.6 acres where the project was to be built for $400 million.
And the massive listing price comes with a caveat: the buyer is actually only getting ownership in 18.4 acres, as the remaining 16.2 comes part of the package through a lease. That means each acre fully bought is being sold at $21.7 million.
CBRE Group, a realty firm that recently executed the Las Vegas Raiders’ land acquisition, is listing the property. The commercial realtor says the Alon location warrants the price.
“This is one of the most exciting properties to become available in Las Vegas in a long time,” CBRE broker John Knott said in a press release.
Crown Resorts’ largest shareholder remains its founder, James Packer. The billionaire resigned from serving as chairman in August of 2015, but remains an active director.
Should Knott be able to find a buyer for Crown’s property, the sale would deliver the company and its shareholders a nice return. The South Las Vegas Boulevard land was purchased in 2014 for $280 million in foreclosure.
While $400 million for 18.4 acres and a lease for 16.2 more might sound like a lot of money, it’s actually quite a discount from what it was once valued. In 2007, prior to the US economic recession, El-Ad Group, a real estate development firm, paid $1.2 billion for the land and former New Frontier Hotel and Casino.
El-Ad demolished the New Frontier with plans to build its own resort called Plaza Las Vegas. The holdings company at the time controlled the Plaza Hotel in New York City, and was looking to take the name recognition to Sin City.
But the recession collapsed those intentions, and Crown and Packer stepped in to snag the vacant land.
The property up for sale comes with several well-known neighbors. Directly west of the land is Trump International Hotel, a jointly owned hotel and residency by President Donald Trump and Republican billionaire pal Phil Ruffin. Though the president is no longer actively involved in The Trump Organization, he remains its largest shareholder.
Across Las Vegas Boulevard is another Trump friend and advisor, billionaire Steve Wynn. His two resorts are just north of The Palazzo and Venetian, billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s two properties.
Wynn has served as an informal economic advisor to Trump, and is currently the finance chair of the Republican National Committee (RNC). His position charges him with raising campaign money to support GOP candidates in the 2018 midterms.
He won’t have any trouble convincing Adelson to open his checkbook. The Las Vegas Sands owner gave more money to Republican causes than any other donor in 2016.