Issue 262
September 19 - September 25, 2005
Volume 5
page 2
 

Westward Ho to close
As reported by
The Las Vegas Sun

LAS VEGAS, Nevada - The Westward Ho hotel and casino will close Nov. 17 and is in the process of being sold, a company official said Wednesday.

The Westward Ho, which opened in 1965 and sits between the Circus Circus and Stardust properties at the north end of the Strip, is the latest aging casino to change hands amid the hottest real estate market in history.

Director of Marketing Jeffrey Bernard would only say that the sale, to a "Fortune 500 company," is expected to be complete by the end of the year. Representatives wouldn't comment further on the deal or the future of the property.

But experts familiar with the transaction said the buyer in question is Centex Corp., a Dallas-based homebuilder that has been eyeing Las Vegas for condominium development. The company operates several business units besides its homes division, including a resort unit that has built Italian-themed condos at Lake Las Vegas in Henderson as well as other units in Hawaii and Florida.

Centex executives could not be reached for comment.

"What in the world is Centex Homes doing buying a casino on the Las Vegas Strip?" according to a source close to the deal, who declined to be named. "It doesn't make sense ... until you consider the potential for high-rise condos," the source said. "The prices that land is going for these days are mind-boggling. They almost have to sell."
Sources said Centex will likely tear down all or part of the Westward Ho and build high rises similar to those being built up and down the Strip.

It wouldn't be the first residential developer to compete with casino companies purchasing land around the Strip. Homebuilder D.R. Horton recently bought more than 30 acres of land east of the Strip near the intersection of Harmon Avenue and Koval Lane. The company sold off some of the land to resort developers building a casino resort and a W hotel and kept the rest to build mid-rise condos.

Several interested buyers have approached the Westward Ho over the past several years, sources said.

The Sun reported in August that a buyer was waiting in the wings while the Westward Ho was locked in a lawsuit with an investor attempting to purchase the property.
The suit, filed by another residential developer based in Texas, is still pending. A Clark County District Court judge received a motion last month to dismiss the case but an order has not yet been signed.

Texas developer Tracy Suttles, who failed in a previous attempt to buy the property, filed suit in June based on a claim that the property owners breached a sale agreement. Westward Ho argued that the developer strung them along and didn't have the money.

 

 

 


Trump trumped in casino property auction

As reported by the Associated Press

ATLANTIC CITY, New Jersey - This was one deal The Donald could not make.

The world's most famous real estate developer bid $25 million Tuesday for the 2.5 acres of beachfront property in Atlantic City where the Trump World's Fair Casino once stood.
Housing developer Bruce Toll bid $25.15 million.

Trump once proposed building a 62-story, 4,600-room hotel and casino on the site. But earlier this year, when his company Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts entered bankruptcy protection he agreed to auction off the land and give the proceeds, plus $17.5 million in cash, to his creditors.

Trump said by telephone on Tuesday that he did not see being outbid as losing.

"I'm really happy because I wanted to get a really good price for the stockholders," he said. "Whether I got it or not was not that important to me."

A few months ago, it seemed like keeping the land was apriority, even though it is no longer allowed to house a casino. In July, Trump won the right to start the bidding at Tuesday's auction at $14.2 million -- nearly twice the $7.5 million at which the land was appraised.

Toll, a co-founder of Toll Brothers Inc., the Horsham, Pa.-based land developer, said he only became aware the property was available about a month ago.

He said he intends to put in condominiums, with some stores along the Boardwalk. Toll said he did not have any specifics because an architect had not yet evaluated the space.

Toll has a long history in Atlantic City. At one point, he was a co-owner of Million Dollar Pier. His father owned the Howard Johnson's Atlantic City, which stood where Caesar's Atlantic City is now.

Toll said there's no special thrill in outbidding the host of the "The Apprentice."

"I know him well. He's a friend of mine. I eat dinner with him sometimes in Florida," Toll said. "I don't think of it as beating him. I just paid what I think the property is worth."

Jerome Kranzel, director of a commercial real estate brokerage that found the bidders for the auction, said Trump's creditors were very happy with the winning bid.

Trump took credit for pushing up the price.

"That's why they love me," he said of the committee assembled to get the best deal for creditors in the bankruptcy.

The sale is expected to be approved Wednesday by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Judith Wizmur, who is overseeing the reorganization of Trump's casino company.




DV8Poker.Com Joins Excapsa Poker Network
As reported by Yahoo! Finance

TORONTO, Canada - Excapsa Software Inc., through its subsidiary Game Theory Ltd., a developer of online gaming software applications announced today their newest licensee, DV8Poker.com. UK-based AVA Leisure, which manufactures gaming machines and runs a number of arcade outlets, is behind this new venture.

"As we continue to expand our business in the UK market it is important that we enter into strategic partnerships with licensees that have a presence in the market," stated Jim Ryan, CEO of Excapsa. "UK-based AVA Leisure is able to leverage its customer base to our poker network with their background in the arcade arena. We believe the tie in to poker will be a natural."

Sherril McCahon, Marketing Director for DV8Poker.com, agrees, "Online gaming is a natural extension of the Company's existing operations," she stated. "And, our partnership with Paradigm New Media ensures that our venture into online poker is backed by top class expertise in interactive marketing to help accelerate growth."

With a combined customer base of over 1.5 million players, the Excapsa poker network allows DV8Poker.com to launch their site with the critical mass needed to be successful in today's competitive marketplace. Through leading licensee brands such as UltimateBet.com and UltimatePoker.com, the poker network has earned a reputation with recreational and professional poker players as one of the best on the net.

Def Leppard

Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa: 1970's British rock band Deff Leppard perform old hits as well as new ones from their latest record "Rock Of Ages: The Definitive Def Leppard."

Date: October 21

Time: 8pm

Price: $65

 
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