AREP, controlled by Carl Icahn, agrees to sell their gaming operations in Nevada, most of which are in the Las Vegas valley. These are casinos it owned here, so that in itself is normal. The action in that arena is steady. Companies are being bought out all the time, Harrahs - Caesars, other properties get purchased, Aladdin -Planet Hollywood, others get imploded to make room for something new and possibly larger than anything previously built. Another transaction among the many is just the flavor of the day.
What caught my eye on this deal was the Stratosphere property and where it's located. Besides the casino itself, the buyer, Whitehall Street Real Estate Funds, gets 17 acres of undeveloped land around the resort. That's potentially significant. As has been the trend recently, the north end of the Strip is getting ever more attention from developers. They eye resort projects, and increasingly high-rise condominium possibilities. And why not?
Turnberry Place in the neighborhood is already well-established in the luxury segment. Nearby Allure is heading for completion, expected in September. MGM Mirage bought some acreage in the area the other day. Whitehall seems to have limited experience in the gaming business, so they might be drafting plans only for the 17 acres. Perhaps a high-rise condo tower, or towers? Or just hold onto the Stratosphere until they can find separate buyers for the land and the resort.
What are they going to do?