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Arnold M. Knightly

New owner plans to close, implode Greek Isles resort

21 January 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- The fans of Las Vegas-style hotel implosions may have another event to witness by the end of the year.

The new owner of the Greek Isles hotel-casino said it plans to close and implode the property to make way for a new mixed-use development.

"By September, a determinant plan will be in place for a timeline for the overall project," said Harold Rothstein, director of DI Development Group, the property's owner. No date has been set to close the 37-year-old property, but Rothstein said he plans to give Greek Isle's employees and customers six-month notice.

Clark County commissioners Wednesday approved plans for a new mixed-use development on the 6.1-acre site on Convention Center Drive.

Plans call for two towers with 780 hotel rooms, a 77,000-square-foot casino and 71,200 square feet of convention, retail and restaurants.

Rothstein said he is still arranging financing for the project and should have an agreement soon. He said he couldn't estimate what the new development will cost.

He bought the site for $48.8 million in July.

The building, which was formerly the Debbie Reynolds Hotel, has 202 rooms in a 14-story hotel tower, an all slot-machine casino, a restaurant and a showroom with a tribute show to the Rat Pack.

Plans for the Greek Isles fit the county's plans to have the half-mile stretch between the Strip and the convention center become more of a pedestrian thoroughfare in the changing neighborhood.

Last month, hotel operator Marriott International received the county's blessing for a 3,500-room hotel and casino on 14.5 acres neighboring Greek Isles to the east.

Projects under way near the convention center include Boyd Gaming Corp.'s $4.8 billion Echelon, Wynn Resorts Ltd.'s $2.1 billion Encore and the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau.

"I personally think it's going to be the type of neighborhood you have on Flamingo (Road) and Las Vegas Boulevard," Rothstein said. "They're all real projects. These are all projects that are funded and ready to go."

Another nearby project under development is New York-based Elad Group's $5 billion Plaza, slated for the former New Frontier site.