Issue 283
February 13 - February 19, 2006
Volume 6
page 1
 

This Issue

Gaming News

Kyle Gateway to grow: 3,000 more homes planned for Focus project

MGM MIRAGE Provides Update on Las Vegas Development Plans

Empire says discussing PartyGaming settlement

The Signature at MGM Grand, Las Vegas, to Debut in May 2006

The Search is Over: Compatiblepoker.com Opens Up Mac Online Poker

Show Time The Smothers Brothers entertains fans at the Orleans Showroom.

Column Strategy Is Just One of Blackjack's Advantages by Linda Mabry.

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Kyle Gateway to grow: 3,000 more homes planned for Focus project

As Reported Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - The Kyle Canyon Gateway development will have thousands more homes than previously thought, along with its own downtown area featuring a park lined with condo and apartment buildings, a shopping district and a casino.

One year after purchasing a massive tract of desert in the northwest corner of Las Vegas, the Focus Property Group is wrapping up negotiations with city planners for the master-planned community, which essentially will create a community the size of a small city on the edge of Las Vegas.

City and Focus representatives expect the development plan to go before the City Council in April.

Environmentalists and Mount Charleston residents have expressed concern about development encroaching on the area - worries unlikely to be alleviated by the proposed addition of 3,000 homes to the plan.

Developers, though, insist that steps will be taken to minimize traffic impacts and note that open space will be incorporated into the development.

Focus purchased the 1,710 acres at a February 2005 Bureau of Land Management auction for $510 million. The land is south and east of the Kyle Canyon Road exit off U.S. 95, with about 70 percent of the project on the west side of the highway and the rest on the east.

A planned new highway interchange and bridge at Horse Drive just south of Kyle Canyon Road will link parts of the development, enhancing residents' access to the freeway.

Originally, the new development was expected to have about 12,000 homes, but the proposal now is expected to call for about 15,000, said Focus Chief Executive Officer John A. Ritter.

Condos and apartment buildings - most about five stories tall, with some possibly as high as eight stories - will surround the center of the development. The housing density will decrease the farther from the center of the development homes are, with the most spacious neighborhoods having four or five houses per acre, Ritter said.

Ritter said the first homes could be finished by late 2007. Prices have yet to be determined.

The development's downtown area will be centered around a long, narrow park, part of which is being modeled after Barcelona's Las Ramblas, a spacious outdoor mall in the Spanish city. Here, the area will be about 60 feet wide, and three-quarters of a mile long. Small parks and seating areas will dot the park, which will have one-way streets on both sides.

A casino is planned for the north end of the downtown space.

Ritter said he expects the proposed casino "will have very little impact" on the surrounding area, in part because it will be built next to the highway.

Other open space in the project includes two arroyos, which are natural storm-water washes. The two major arroyos that will be incorporated into the development are about a mile long, and 30-70 feet wide, and 10-30 feet deep in places. A trail system and several small parks will be situated along the arroyos.

Las Vegas Councilman Steve Ross, whose ward includes the area, likes what he has heard about the development so far.

The higher density of the homes will make the area "more pedestrian friendly," Ross said.

Ross, who has long talked about protecting the rural character of the northwest, said he believes the development will not hurt the character of the area or adversely impact nearby Kyle Canyon.

But university Regent Thalia Dondero, who has a cabin up Kyle Canyon at Mount Charleston, expressed concern about the number of residents who would be moving so close to the canyon's entrance.

"That's a lot of homes, and I think it's important to remember it's the entrance to the forest," she said.

Ross, though, said the development will be relatively "far away, along the highway." Potential traffic impact from the development will be lessened by the new highway interchange, he added.

"The residents up there want to make sure their access to the highway is unaffected, and I think it will be," he said.

Ross said the project and future development make it more important for local governments to work on the so-called outer beltway highway. The Focus development sets aside land for that planned highway.

"We're trying everything we can to minimize the impact" from traffic, Ritter said. The development will include a transportation center, expected to be served by bus service.

The Kyle Canyon Gateway development is one of four major local projects that Focus is working on.

Focus' Providence development covers about 1,200 acres just south of the Kyle Canyon Gateway land; the Mountain's Edge development is being built on 3,500 acres in the southwestern edge of the Las Vegas Valley; and the company's Inspirada development occupies about 2,000 acres in Henderson.


MGM MIRAGE Provides Update on Las Vegas Development Plans

Press Release

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - MGM MIRAGE announced on February 9, 2006 that its Board of Directors has approved the design and budget for Project CityCenter, the Company's previously announced urban development project at the heart of the Las Vegas Strip. Project CityCenter will feature approximately 2.3 million square feet of residential space; a 4,000-room luxury hotel and casino; two 400-room, non-gaming boutique hotels; and over 470,000 square feet of retail, dining and entertainment space. The approved design will further enhance the overall significance and profitability of Project CityCenter, which is expected to provide owners and visitors alike a truly unique experience.

The overall cost of Project CityCenter is estimated at approximately $7 billion, excluding preopening and land costs. After estimated proceeds of $2.5 billion from the sale of residential units, the Company believes that the net project cost will be approximately $4.5 billion. Project CityCenter will be located on approximately 66 acres between Bellagio and Monte Carlo on the Las Vegas Strip, and will be connected to these resorts via a state-of-the-art people mover system. The Company expects to break ground in mid-2006, and estimates that Project CityCenter will open in the fourth quarter of 2009. The detailed design phase of the project is still under way, and the budget, scope and timing of Project CityCenter are subject to change.

"The market for casino resorts and vertical residential space in Las Vegas is very robust," said Terry Lanni, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MGM MIRAGE. "We believe the most important aspects of successful casino resorts and residential and retail developments are embodied within Project CityCenter: location, brand and amenities. Our Board and management believe that Project CityCenter will be the catalyst for a new kind of experience on the Las Vegas Strip, and forever change the way we view Las Vegas."

Jim Murren, President, CFO and Treasurer of MGM MIRAGE noted, "Our financing plan for Project CityCenter calls for significant residential proceeds to supplement our available borrowing capacity and free cash flow to efficiently fund this major development, while maintaining maximum flexibility for other expansion initiatives. We also continue to explore potential partnerships and other financing vehicles to ensure the most efficient use of capital. We expect to earn cash flow returns in the mid-teens on the net project cost, which is considerably above our cost of capital."

The Company, along with its partner Turnberry Associates, is constructing The Signature at MGM Grand, three 576-unit towers which are designed as condo- hotels. Towers 1 and 2 are sold out, under construction, and are expected to be completed in the second and fourth quarters of 2006, respectively. Tower 3 is also under construction, with available units being nearly fully sold out at prices significantly above the first two towers. The Company believes that these sales and pricing trends will continue with the residential offerings at Project CityCenter.

Mr. Murren added, "Our belief in the Las Vegas residential market has been confirmed with the very strong sales at The Signature at MGM Grand, where we expect to record our 50% share of that venture's profit on Tower 1 in the second quarter and Tower 2 in the fourth quarter, at approximately $45 million and $60 million, respectively. Our estimated share of profits on Tower 3 is in excess of $100 million. We see residential development as a long-term competitive advantage for our Company, particularly given our substantial real estate holdings on the Las Vegas Strip, and as a key component in future resort developments."

MGM MIRAGE, one of the world's leading and most respected hotel and gaming companies, owns and operates 23 properties located in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan, and has investments in three other properties in Nevada, New Jersey and Illinois. MGM MIRAGE has also announced plans to develop Project CityCenter, a multi-billion dollar mixed-use urban development project in the heart of Las Vegas, and has a 50 percent interest in MGM Grand Macau, a hotel-casino resort currently under construction in Macau S.A.R. MGM MIRAGE supports responsible gaming and has implemented the American Gaming Association's Code of Conduct for Responsible Gaming at its properties. MGM MIRAGE also has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions for its industry-leading Diversity Initiative and its community philanthropy programs. For more information about MGM MIRAGE, please visit the company's website at http://www.mgmmirage.com.

Statements in this release which are not historical facts are "forward looking" statements and "safe harbor statements" Under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that involve risks and/or uncertainties, including risks and/or uncertainties as described in the company's public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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