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Gaming Guru

Hubble Smith

Development: CEO Ready for Bigger Enterprise Near Palms

6 August 2004

Chris DelGuidice is still wading through permitting issues for his 880-unit Vegas Grand condominium off Flamingo Road at Swenson Avenue, but he's already making plans for an even larger project next to the Palms.

The chief executive officer of Orlando, Fla.-based Del American said Thursday he expects to close escrow in September on a 10-acre parcel east of the Palms with frontage on Flamingo.

Preliminary plans for the 565-foot, 50-story condo and time-share project were approved Wednesday by the Clark County Commission.

To be called One Las Vegas, it would have 542 units at an average of 1,550 square feet, priced from $500,000 to $5 million and more for penthouse suites, DelGuidice said.

Groundbreaking is about a year away.

DelGuidice said his recent $240 million financing from Lehman Brothers and Hypo Real Estate Capital to build Vegas Grand solidifies his position as one of the "pre-eminent developers" of high-rises in Las Vegas.

"They are two major investors out of New York," he said during a recent stay at the Bellagio. "They're both very bullish on the Las Vegas market. They both have existing investments in Las Vegas. They like Las Vegas and feel the market will continue to grow."

DelGuidice said Hypo had already told him they would finance his new project and Lehman is going to be a partner in the land.

Vegas Grand is 90 percent reserved, which means people put $5,000 to $75,000 down to reserve a unit. Remaining units are priced from $300,000 to $1.1 million.

About half of the buyers are coming from California, a quarter are local residents and the balance comes from Florida, New York and other states, DelGuidice said.

Site work is expected to begin in September, after the building permits go through some "tweaking," he said. Vegas Grand was originally designed to be a 50-50 split between luxury apartments and condos, but DelGuidice soon decided to go entirely with condos because of higher-than-expected construction costs.

Rick Bach, vice president and general manager for Dallas-based Turner Construction, said this is the company's first major project in Las Vegas, having previously done TSA upgrades at McCarran International Airport.

"It's doable," Bach said of Vegas Grand, whose 20-acre site straddles the Flamingo Wash. "I've done much more challenging work. We did a high-rise over some railroad tracks in the middle of New York City. This is heaven."