Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

March 19, 2007

New Frontier Sold for $1.5 BILLION?

Posted by Hunter

Has the New Frontier been sold? According to a tip submitted in one of our comments by regular poster LStern, it seems as if this may be the case.

According to this article, the purchase price could have been as high as $1.5 billion - $40 million an acre!

This hopefully means the end of the Montreaux project that was slated for the site - it was a horrific take on Bellagio's design with all sorts of bizarre design choices.

Anyway, we'll update you as we learn more.

Update: Whoops. Forgot to post the link (thanks Tim).

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Read archived comments (54 so far)
March 19, 2007 5:11 PM Posted by detroit1051

This is great news. After looking at the quality of this privately held company's properties, I'm sure Hunter is right, Montreaux will disappear. It should also be welcomed by Boyd, Wynn, Adelson and even Trump because it will strengthen that area of the Strip even more. Thanks to Leonard for sharing it.

I see Columbia Sussex is going back to the Planning Commission this week on plans for the Tropicana. I hope CS has the ability to pull this off, 10,000+ rooms.

March 19, 2007 6:39 PM Posted by Brian Fey

This would be wonderful! Nothing would improve the neighborhood more around Wynn than imploding the Frontier. I would rather see an empty lot, than that horrible property! The sooner its gone the better.

On another front, I can't believe it, but if the air space gets approved this week, it looks like that crazy Las Vegas Tower might actually be a go. I just can't imagine.

March 19, 2007 7:00 PM Posted by hail2skins

Thanks for posting the info, Hunter. Excitement continues on the north Strip.

Speaking of the north Strip, did you see the Vegas Tripping feature on Encore? They utilized a good amount of your information, and I really liked their presentation.

March 19, 2007 7:02 PM Posted by mike_ch

I wouldn't go that far, Brian. I expect them to hang around long enough to fight the powers that be but fail to get the funds to build that tower.

In fact, I will bet my gastrointestinal tract on it. If they ever actually do get to building it, I will eat at one of the worst buffets in town and write a review. In the event that this happens, we'll hold a poll on whether I should dine at Circus Circus, Frontier (if it's still open), Sahara, or Imperial Palace. :P

March 19, 2007 7:05 PM Posted by Hunter

I haven't seen it yet but I did talk to Chuck (author) about it yesterday about his using some of my stuff.

I've now seen the latest Encore drawings which have some updates from the last round I saw originally.

Also, I just posted quite a few new photos of Encore, taken yesterday:

I'll be writing up some new info on it soon, along with my CityCenter stuff and the rest of my trip.

March 19, 2007 7:08 PM Posted by Hunter

I can confirm one thing we were talking about earlier: Encore has three elevator cores, one of which serves an 'Encore Tower Suites' that includes the 'Sky Suites' that are where the emergency stairs are on the original tower.

March 19, 2007 7:14 PM Posted by Mike E

First of all, shivers just went down my spine with your last comment, Hunter.

Mike, screw the buffet. If LVT is built, I'll treat you to Alex where we'll have foie gras, escargot, caviar, and other things that are probably making you throw up in your mouth as I write them. :-)

March 19, 2007 7:32 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Hunter, those are GREAT Encore shots, Thank You, they are really starting to fly! I had no idea, the garage was going to be that tall, I expected to see it more like the other one just 4 floors.

March 19, 2007 7:35 PM Posted by John

Well, here's the thing, I think the thing is a monstrocity, but if you look on to Skyscraperpage and Skyscrapercity, they are already prepping the site and setting up construction office. If this actually does get built, though, I've got you, Mike, and Mike_ch, I would stay the night at the New Frontier. It isn't going to happen, even if they've started to prep that site.

Hunter, incredible!! I always knew Wynn was going to include a Tower Suites in Encore, it has just proven to be such an asset to the original resort, that Steve had to include an even more luxurious and expensive feature to a resort that will have greater rooms and suites than those of WLV.

Also, Hunter, I can't wait to read about those plans, there are no words that describe my excitement.

March 19, 2007 7:41 PM Posted by Devon

Hunter, you continue to amaze. Has anything drastic been done to the original plans? And, will we be seeing another sketck?

March 19, 2007 7:45 PM Posted by RoyVegas

I will miss the easy access and outdoor parking like crazy.

March 20, 2007 1:12 PM Posted by marlymarr

Wow my mouth dropped when i read this headline. I'm looking forward to the Frontier being brought to the ground. Anxiously awaiting those details on Encore!

March 20, 2007 6:18 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Hunter, I really DO appreciate the fact that you gave me sole credit for first reporting Ruffin's impending sale of the New Frontier. Actually, I knew about this for several months but wouldn't even consider posting the facts regarding this transaction previously. And, detroit, I'm also pleased that you have decided to end your boycott of my future posts + take me seriously. I'm really in touch with the behind-the-scenes stuff going on here in Vegas, trust me. At any rate, Steve now has TWO really serious big-time Jewish competitors to WLV/Encore, Sheldon Adelson at the south + Yitzhak Tshuva right across the street to the west with his (imminent) purchase of the New Frontier. Maybe Steve needs to change his name from "Wynn" to "Weinberg" + return to the tribe again by reconnecting with his family's Jewish heritage instead of this Dalai Lama crap. Hell, he can at least save money on not having to take down the "W" on the fascia of WLV., LOL. Many of you Wynn "fanboys" are heralding the ammenities which will be offered in the future Encore venue, just wait + see what Elad Properties has planned for the former New Frontier site. After all, his company has totally renovated the most famous of New York's hotels, The Plaza. His portfolio speaks for itself + makes Steve look like an amateur at best. Kudos to Ruffin for "holding out" wherbey the reported price of the New Frontier property is estimated at $40M/acre!!! Absolutely unprecedented. The only permanent eyesores will now be the (two) future 64 story TRUMP gold "popsicles" at the west end of the property. Thank God, or thank Tshuva that Steelman's horrid abortion of that Bellagio-esque hideous design for "Montreux" will NEVER see the light of day! Imagine the possibilities with that property, like a 21st century version of a 5,000+ room mega-resort reminiscent in design + services of The Plaza Hotel in N.Y. which will exceed in every respect Steve's "upgraded" attempt to offer first-rate luxury accommodations when Wynn launches Encore after the mistakes [he] evidently has NOT learned with WLV. Actually this announcement is really bad news for Steve since Encore will never be able to compete with CityCenter, Venetian/Palazzo + now the potential of an absolutely 5 star luxury resort, no-holes-barred mega-resort proposed for the New Frontier property. Echelon will not hold a candle to CityCenter + is likely to be overshadowed by the future development of the New Frontier property. Other, unrelaterd, news I want to share with you guys, Columbia Sussex Corp. plans to impolode BOTH existing Trop towers + the existing low-rise components making way for a totally clean slate, new mega-resort with multiple towers resulting in a total room count of 9,000+. Stay tuned + don't believe anything you read. Secondly, LVT (Milam Tower) is expected to receive Commission + FAA approvals by the end of this week. As I already reported, the former Wet'n Wild site have already begun preliminary excavation + installion of construction trailers on site. With all due respect to John (I know that we have agreed to make peace) however your reference to LVT as a "monstrosity" could not be more off-point + simply an ignorant opinion in terms of what this project represents for the future supertalls in Las Vegas + the entire U.S. First of all, LVT was designed by the recently departed SOM/Chicago partner Adrian Smith, whom I have known for over 20 years. Smith was directly responsible for the design of Burj Dubai + LVT. Since LVT is a totally symmetrical design as opposed to Burj Dubai's asymmetrical form factor, LVT is actually a much better building than Dubai Tower. Since the public have only had the opportunity of viewing the officially published CAD "schematic" renderings, it is unfair, John, to judge the building's design features without detailed window wall elevations, renderings, etc. which I have already had the privilege to see for myself. I obtain ALL of my information directly from the architectural firms working on these [proposed] projects, which is the best indicator of whether or not the client/developer is actually committed to moving forward beyond the design development stage. I have no idea where Milam is obtaining the bulk of his his financing for this project, however, this project will not end up becoming another "Ivana/Summit" tower, I can assure you. Dubai quality architecture might finally come to's about time. Note to Boyd; Echelon will not compete with CityCenter based on the equivalent of your Borgota designers, add another billion or so + build a progressive architecturally significant development. Klai-Juba are the only architects on board that will deliver anyhthing worthwile.

March 20, 2007 8:16 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah this looks like its almost a done deal, even Ruffin is talking now. Thank God, we should all meet, and watch this disaster get imploded and celebrate!

March 20, 2007 8:56 PM Posted by John

Leonard, I'm not going to say that SOM isn't an amazing firm, but it is a corporate firm and little more. They design really pretty office buildings and supertalls, but they have just designed a hotel on one of the greatest boulevards in the world that looks like, and this might be edited, a dildo (at least from the very preliminary sketches and renderings). Maybe, just maybe, and I'm really hoping, it will turn out to be beautiful as the Burj or better, but at this specific point in time, I'm just not convinced.

March 20, 2007 9:27 PM Posted by mike_ch

Nobody's going to gamble in a place just because it's architecturally progressive. Five-star hotels in uptown Manhattan have a personal level of service not affordable in a 5,000+ room resort.

And Milam is prettying his land because he knows Fountainbleu and Turnberry are both eyeballing it while the neighbors were calling it an eyesore as it was.

March 20, 2007 9:28 PM Posted by mike_ch

Addendum: I guess I should mention it's likely the Sahara's new owner is interested in it, too.

March 21, 2007 9:20 AM Posted by BrianFey

Interesting. If King Leonard, gets credit for "First breaking" this Frontier story, I must have missed his post on that one. I do hope you are right about the Tropicana. I didn't not understand how in the world they could spend all that money and not level that place, and just start all over. If that happens, it makes much more sense. That is another Vegas landmark, that needs to go bye-bye. I'll look forward to that day! Lastly, I hope you are right, I hope the new Frontier owners do blow Encore away. I would love to have some other great projects around.

March 21, 2007 9:41 AM Posted by Hunter

Yeah, he referenced the story in a comment to another topic and that's when I was made aware of it to post it on the front page.

That was before it hit any other site.

March 21, 2007 3:18 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Brian, I continue to be personally frustrated that I am 'at risk' of compromising my inside connections with the majority of architects who are designing just about every one of the Strip's mega-projects by reporting such events ahead of an official announcement. I only wish I could share with all of you what I now know to be "absolute fact" regarding the future of ALL projects here over the next 3 years, either previously announced, cancelled, or proposed, I can assure you that the majority of you will change your current opinions + pro-Wynn position when these details are finally revealed. While Ruffin has not officially acknowledged the New Frontier's sale for almost $40M/acre, it is all but a done deal. At any rate, I will prove to you + others that I am way ahead of the game when it comes to the future status of Las Vegas projects, none of which any of you guys will even be aware of for many months. I hope that, after I continue to contribute so-called "inside" information, those here who have previously chastised me will take a fresh look of what I have to offer in the interest of what is actually going on, regardless of [those] pro-Wynn or other biasses that might exist. Yours truly, "King Leonard".

March 21, 2007 6:48 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Ok, so this was not weeks or months ago then? I see.

March 21, 2007 8:11 PM Posted by Hunter


I understand your frustration.

I often come into contact with materials and information that I cannot post.

I generally try not to dangle the carrot for the readers since I personally am only frustrated when I am in that position.

And to anyone out there with information that they would like to share, feel free to send confidential dispatches to We're good about keeping stuff under wraps if need be.

March 21, 2007 8:51 PM Posted by John

Well, I'm not going to argue against the Ruffin deal. Quite the opposite, in fact, I'm exstatic that EDAD is purchasing that ugly poc. Thank you, Leonard. I'm just really glad that Montreux, etc. is never going to happen and we might get a Plaza Las Vegas, or something to that effect.

Saying that, though, today was judgement day on LVT and it seems like they tower won't get approval, if it does, until May 2. Leonard, didn't you say it would, in fact, get approved at today's meeting? I'm not challenging you, Leonard, but from what I've heard the postponement was due to the fact that the FAA hasn't given its approval yet.

If this came off sort of patronistic, etc. I'm really sorry, I just read it and it sounds a bit "uppity".

March 22, 2007 1:47 PM Posted by detroit1051

LV Sun on New Frontier and also Fontainebleu. Friends in Vegas believe Ruffin will get $25-30 million an acre, not $40M.

March 22, 2007 2:53 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

John, I haven't yet had a chance to read today's commission review minutes in conection with the LTV tower approval. The entire future of this project rests upon the ultimate FAA approval (with or without conditions) which I understand are still being negotiated. LVT is far from being a "dead" project + the question now remains how much leeway will the FAA be willing to give. Remember when Stupak frist applied for approval of the Strat, his original plans called for an 1800' tall tower, similar in height to the proposed LVT. Only after [Stupak] having been forced to file for bankruptcy protection mid-way through construction + at the point when Perini was alreday around 90% complete after having taking over construction of the tower from the original G.C., did [they] actually finally receive FAA approval for an 1800' tall tower! I believe that LVT will ultimately receive an FAA approval of at least 1200'+, making it close to the height of the existing Strat. Remember, the Stratosphere Tower is not a fully tenant occupied floor-by-floor structure, regardless of its height, which represents a major difference when considering the code requirements for a 120 story hotel/condo commercial supertall. Milam has retained the absolute best FAA experts in negotiating this process, at tremendous expense, I hardly think that this rojcet will not end up be being built. If I recall correctly, Milam has an option to close on the Wet 'n Wild property that extends to November or October of '07. Let's just hope it becomes successful because this project (along with CityCenter + Cosmo) will forever change the Las Vegas architectural design paradigm forever...

March 22, 2007 4:21 PM Posted by Pikes

John, Comparing the LVT to a dildo was propably the funniest thing I read this week!


March 22, 2007 6:58 PM Posted by Chris

Once again I want to step in and point out that whatever any of these new projects ends up being, they are simply not going to be "unprecedented luxury hotels the likes of which have never been seen in this town". The number of rooms necessary for a profitable strip resort, combined with the increasingly shallow employment base in the city, make the idea of a seeing a 5,000 room property in Vegas that is anything like the Plaza in NYC completely ridiculous. Trying to operate a big strip resort on the same operations model as a luxury hotel in downtown Manhattan would be totally unprofitable, besides which there simply aren't enough people in Las Vegas with the kind of experience needed to run it at that level anyway.

Whatever they put together at Palazzo, Encore, CityCenter, Echelon Place, Fontainebleau, LVT or the Frontier Site, it's not realistic to expect any of them to supersede what is already being offered at existing places like Four Seasons, Ritz-Carlton, Skylofts, Tower Suites, or Venezia Concierge. There will certainly be more at that level, but nothing really beyond it.

The only *true* capital-L Luxury projects on the boards these days that may be on a level we have not seen before are the 912-room non-gaming Conrad Hotel/Waldorf=Astoria Residences, and possibly the 400-room Mandarin Oriental tower at CityCenter, if they let Mandarin Oriental run it independently of MGM-Mirage.

Unless we start hearing things about a St. Regis, a Peninsula, a Raffles, a One&Only, or even a Park Hyatt, I would hesitate to gush about any new level of real luxury sweeping across town.

March 22, 2007 7:13 PM Posted by Hunter

FYI, Mandarin *is* running the property at City Center, completely independent of MGM Mirage.

I've been working on my City Center article but I'm sorry to say it's not done yet. I'm lagging. Sorry.

March 22, 2007 8:46 PM Posted by John

Chris, you bring up an interesting question. Do you think Shangri-La at Echelon, or either the Mondrian or Delano, all of which are at Echelon will work together with Mandarin to raise the upper level luxury product in the city?

I'm not that familiar with Shangri-La, but it looks like it caters to the same customer base that the hotel portion of Mandarin will cater to. However, the Mondrian and the Delano will not only compete against each other, but they will be in direct competition with The Harmon. That leads me to think, which will be more popular/successful? The Mondrian and the Delano have a large following at their respective Los Angeles and Miami counterparts. However, The Harmon is being run by The Light Group and we all know how popular those guys are in Vegas (eventhough their venues are no where near as exculusive as they were a few years ago {Light}).

March 23, 2007 4:51 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Isn't that going to be confusing, have a Mondrain and a Mandrian ?

March 23, 2007 8:01 PM Posted by Hunter

You must mean Mandarin (Oriental) and Mondrian (Morgans).

March 23, 2007 8:11 PM Posted by Brian Fey

Yeah, that's what I mean! :)

March 24, 2007 6:58 AM Posted by Brian Fey

On another topic, VT&T has some official Ecehelon Place renderings up this morning. I guess the curved tower, like Wynn, Encore and PCC are going to replace the old tri-wing design that Mirage, TI, and many other hotels copied. The new slightly curved towers seem to be the way of the future. Obviously PCC's main tower, expanded on that of Wynn, and Echelon Place will look somewhat similar to PCC's also. I guess its ok, I was hoping for something somewhat different. I know these can change somewhat, but with ground breaking in less than three months, they probably need something pretty firm right away, as it takes months of prep work for plans and bids before they can start.

March 27, 2007 2:25 AM Posted by mike_ch

That deal didn't last long:

March 27, 2007 5:08 AM Posted by detroit1051

Mike_ch, why didn't that surprise me? Is Ruffin legit? He's done this kind of talking in the past.

March 27, 2007 9:32 AM Posted by BrianFey

I saw that this morning, how depressing is that? Now RIV is back on the hit list. Stock is up over 30% in last week. Looks like they have a new offer on the table now, which is close to double the last offer. $17 per share, now $27. Why didn't I own that one? :)

March 27, 2007 4:32 PM Posted by John

Another project that might hit the dust, even though it has been stalled for quite some time, is the W. From a few sources, which include the preliminary renderings for the Hard Rock expansions, it looks like Edge has sold the former Las Ramblas land, as well as the land set aside for the W itself, has been sold and will become part of the new Hard Rock.

This news, I'm not that worried about, but the loss of Elad purchasing the New Frontier is like a blow to my heart. It's impossible to think that, with the prospect of having a new Plaza Las Vegas, we'll be stuck with New Frontier for years, or worse Ruffin will actually build that horrible Montreux.

Also, I didn't see this mentioned, but in the LV Business Press' article about the sale, this very blog was mentioned as the first outlet to shed light on The Stalin Report's article. Way to go Hunter, it looks like the blog has really become a viable entity in the Las Vegas discussion community.

April 2, 2007 5:39 PM Posted by detroit1051

Can this possibly be true that Steve Wynn offered $51.6 Million an acre for New Frontier? How can you justify that land price when planning a new Strip development?

April 2, 2007 6:07 PM Posted by Brian Fey

OMG, this April Fools joke, made it all the way to LV Business Press, and they actually bought the gag? Now that is amazing. This shows me how good our actual news sources are, or are not as the case may be!

April 2, 2007 6:11 PM Posted by Devon

It makes sense, but from what I've heard, the offer was made a while back. I guess we'll see.

April 2, 2007 7:16 PM Posted by Devon

"One deal Ruffin later said he regretted passing on would have had him sell the property to Wynn Resorts in exchange for a healthy chunk of Wynn stock, shares that then were far below their current price north of $98."-In Business Las Vegas

April 2, 2007 7:42 PM Posted by John

From what I had read, it seemed like Steve had approached Ruffin about the site, but that was a few years ago. Unless Steve is planning to build The Gates of Wynn (the entrance to the north Strip), with its three beautiful towers on both sides of Las Vegas Boulevard S., I can't see why Steve would but the New Frontier property, especially at that cost.

April 2, 2007 9:43 PM Posted by Leonard Stern

Steve will NEVER, EVER purchase the New Frontier property from Ruffin at [that] price per acre - 100% for certain, guaranteed! This is total B.S. + an unconfirmed rumor that has found its way to being publshed in McKee's column. I know that the Business PRESS check their sources multiple times before reporting anything, but I can assure you, with absolute certainty, all of this is completely false + unsubstantiated. Wynn's only public/official comments regarding the New Frontier property is that he is willing to personally pay for the total cost of its demolition/implosion.

April 2, 2007 10:42 PM Posted by John

Gee, Leonard I thought you would have liked the Wynn Gates of Babylon crack, but oh well.

Ruffin has had a history of misleading the press to think the one person who is going to buy the property is in fact that one potential buyer that no one had thought of (i.e.- maybe ElAd is the actual buyer, but Ruffin is going to cover it up anyway he can).

April 4, 2007 5:10 AM Posted by detroit1051

If the Las Vegas Business Press wants to have any sense of credibility, it needs to rein in David McKee who writes his blog on the site. He appears to jump on unsubstantiated rumors without any verification of their truth. He's done this with Wynn and now with the alleged Ruffin/Wynn deal. He seems to think by offering an apology, he's off the hook to do the same thing again. Now, he's attacking a more innocuous subject, the buffet at South Point. I have no knowledge of South Point, but what's McKee's point? I'm beginning to think of him and Rosie O'Donnell on "The View" in the same way: say whatever you want as long as it gets you attention.

In the same issue of LV Business Press, there's a story on Allure condos at Sahara and The Strip. Looks like even Fifield's Allure project isn't immune from real estate problems.

April 6, 2007 12:26 PM Posted by detroit1051

I'll comment here because it relates to land prices. The LV Business Press reports that the Commercial Center, on Sahara, has sold for $17 Million. It has 2.66 acres. The place is a dive, but at only $6.5 Million an acre, it's a bargain. When the North Strip really takes off and the real estate market rebounds, the Commercial Center property is ideally situated for development. It's just east of Turnberry Towers and the Sahara property, north of the LV Hilton and the LV Country Club.
Here's a link to the story and then a link to the excellent "The Map" at Vegas Today and Tomorrow which shows the area.

April 6, 2007 12:37 PM Posted by detroit1051

Sorry, I was a little off. It's 2.71 acres which brings the price down to $6.27 Million/acre, an even better bargain.

April 6, 2007 1:36 PM Posted by mike_ch

Detroit: A few things...

First, I won't go into it too much, because I wrote some pretty heavy comments about it in an April Fool thread, but I'm with you on McKee. I'm not impressed that he parrots stories from Vegas fan sites, give no credit to either those sites or their sources (if available,) and then he'll blast their name around while insulting them when they make him look wrong.

Secondly, I'm not shocked to hear about troubles at Allure. That looked like the project least likely to take off. It's in the middle of a bad neighborhood in the shadow of the Stratosphere. Building a big gleaming tower in the middle of a bunch of condemned motels and deteriorated residences does not magically improve the area, and few people want to live there unless maybe they can be guaranteed a high floor or something.

May 16, 2007 4:14 AM Posted by detroit1051

The WSJ has an article on Elad Group's expected announcement today on "Plaza West".
"The owner of New York's venerable Plaza Hotel is expected to announce today a $5 billion project to develop a prominent site on the Las Vegas Strip into a mixed-use development bearing the Plaza name by 2011. It's the first step in a new strategy by New York-based Elad Group to leverage the Plaza brand across the world."

Here's the link if you have a subscription. There is also a chart of major Strip projects. Once again, Two Way Hard Three was two months ahead of everyone.

May 16, 2007 6:55 AM Posted by BrianFey

Thank God! Its a beautiful day in LV!!! I hope this place gets leveled by years end!

May 16, 2007 9:01 AM Posted by Leonard Stern

Guys, you heard this news from ME posted on this very thread FIRST! Thank God the deal is finalized + Steelman's hideous Montreux will be relegated to history! When is that guy [Steelman] going to learn how to design a "decent building" for once, oh sorry I forgot, he learned the art of hospitality design by working for Steve :-) Well, for you Wynn fanboys, this announcement should bring about a much needed, albeit "temporary", spike in WYNN share price...

May 16, 2007 10:47 AM Posted by mike_ch

Not that I'd ever stay there, however, it was a bad location that became a great one almost overnight.

With the Sahara turning and the Riv possibly doing the same, all of us folks who are accustomed to paying under $100 for our rooms from 2000-2002 are going to all have to pack into Circus Circus now.

May 16, 2007 11:42 AM Posted by detroit1051

"all of us folks who are accustomed to paying under $100 for our rooms from 2000-2002 are going to all have to pack into Circus Circus"
Wow! Circus is $150 this Friday and $180 Saturday. It does go back to $42 next mid-week.