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Arnold M. Knightly

Klondike Inn site owner explores sale

2 June 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The economic downturn has led another hopeful casino developer to put his Strip dreams up for sale.

Florida-based developer Daniel Kodsi said he is "putting out feelers" for possible buyers while continuing to look for investors who may be interested in developing a Paramount-branded hotel-casino on his 10.5-acre site on the south Strip.

"There's not much development activity today," said Kodsi, president and chief executive officer of Florida-based Royal Palm Communities. "We wanted to put it on the market. A public company that has (its) own cash might want to come in and take it off our hands."

The parcel, which is being marketed for $18 million an acre, is the former home of the Klondike Inn, which closed in June 2006 and was recently demolished after becoming a haven for homeless people and transients.

Colliers International Las Vegas is marketing the site to potential buyers.

Colliers interim managing partner Mike Mixer said there's a lot of interest in the site but finding financing for a project is a problem.

"That is where we're finding most of the challenges in selling the site," Mixer said. "We're the least-expensive site on Las Vegas Boulevard. It's a great property for those that want to compete on the Strip but can't build a major megaresort."

The site, which is east of the historic "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, was approved by Clark County officials in October 2006 for a 1,864-room hotel with an 80,000-square-foot casino.

Royal Palm Las Vegas, a subsidiary of Florida-based Royal Palm Communities, acquired the Klondike for $23.7 million in September 2005 and added the parcel to 5.25 adjoining acres the company bought in May 2005 for $42 million.

Mixer said one potential buyer would like to include McCarran International Airport, which borders the property to the east, in the project.

The concept would allow private aircraft to pull up to the boutique property and "valet park," Mixer said.

"They're really focused on providing that sense of a boutique property where someone could come in, land, and literally get off the plane into the hotel," he said. "When they're ready to leave, they could have their plane pulled back out, get in and go."

Mixer said the potential buyer, whom he would not name, told him it has discussed the idea with McCarran and asked about what security issues would be involved.

McCarran spokesman Chris Jones said airport officials didn't know of any such discussions about the site.

Plans for the Paramount hotel-casino were sidelined in late August when an unnamed private-equity investor decided to pull out "three or four days" before closing on restructuring the land loan.

Boca Raton, Fla.-based Royal Palm Communities develops mixed-use developments, condominiums, single-family homes, multifamily apartment communities, and custom homes primarily in South Florida.

Kodsi said he is not being forced to sell the property and may keep it as an investment.

"We're trying different things, exercising different options," Kodsi said. "If we have to sit on it, we'll just sit and wait."