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Another troubled Strip project: WSJ reports Plaza Hotel postponement

Hard on the heels of Boyd Gaming's decision to delay its multi-billion dollar Echelon project, the Wall Street Journal will report Friday morning that a similar delay will now affect the neighboring Las Vegas Plaza complex. Both hotels were on expensive Strip land just north of Donald Trump's new International Hotel Tower and caddy-corner opposite Steve Wynn's new Encore project to open at year-end.

Here's the advance Wall Street Journal story:

Plans for Las Vegas Plaza Pushed Back to 2009

By TAMARA AUDI

August 15, 2008

Plans to build the Las Vegas version of New York's iconic Plaza Hotel have been postponed, a spokesman for the project's owners said, the latest in a series of stalled, canceled or bankrupt projects beset by U.S. economic weakness.

The $5 billion Plaza casino-hotel development was scheduled to break ground by the end of 2008 on the site of the former New Frontier casino. The project's groundbreaking has been moved to "sometime in 2009," said Michelle Tsang, spokeswoman for Elad IDB Las Vegas LLC, a partnership between the Elad Group -- owners of New York's Plaza Hotel -- and IDB Group of Israel.

The Plaza partners also have deferred payment of a $625 million loan used to buy the project site, Ms. Tsang said. Elad IDB paid a premium price of $1.25 billion for 35 acres at the height of a land-buying frenzy on the Las Vegas Strip last year.

Despite the loan deferral and the postponement, Ms. Tsang said the owners plan to go forward with the project.

"They're definitely committed to building. Everything is still going ahead as planned, they're just not doing it in 2008," said Ms. Tsang. "They're doing what everyone else is doing. They're going to wait a little bit and see. It's the same at a lot of different projects."

A tough credit market and a consumer downturn have hit a number of big-ticket Las Vegas projects recently. Boyd Gaming Corp. recently announced that the construction of its $4.8 billion Las Vegas Strip project, Echelon, will be stalled while the company and its partners seek additional financing to complete it. A plan to build the tallest high-rise in Las Vegas was canceled before it broke ground.

Final plans for the Plaza were approved by county officials in Nevada in March. According to a statement from the company in March, those plans include seven towers, featuring an "ultra-luxury hotel, private residences, retail outlets, a state-of-the-art casino, destination restaurants, an entertainment venue and a convention complex."

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