The Donald's in, Ivana's out

Chris Palmeri

You may have read about condominium cancellations in the otherwise white-hot Las Vegas high-rise market. Casualties include a well-publicized building promoted by Ivana Trump, ex-wife of The Donald. A new report from Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Marc Falcone puts the Sin City construction market in perspective. Falcone says that while 8% of announced units have been cancelled, he still tallies up 93 projects in development, accounting for nearly 55,000 new rooms. About 40% of those are condo hotels where individual owners buy the units. Falcone figures only about 20-30% of the announced projects will get built. Dick Rizzo, chairman of Perini Building Co., a big Vegas contractor, told listeners in a Deutsche Bank-sponsored conference call that sharply higher construction costs will put the kibosh on all but the highest-end projects. Rizzo says he can't charge less than $400 a square foot for new high-rise construction, and that means developers have to ask condo buyers for at least $800 a square foot to make a profit. The Donald's project, on the Strip next door to the Fashion Center mall, already has five floors up, however. Don't bet against that man.

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