Some much-needed good news for the 3,000-room Strip project whose future had been murky

The future looks a bit brighter now for the troubled Cosmopolitan project since an affiliate of Deutsche Bank purchased the $3.9 billion resort out of foreclosure.

Deutsche Bank has taken over full ownership of the project under an affiliate, Nevada Property I, and will continue to coordinate design and construction of the Las Vegas Strip project that sits between Bellagio and Project CityCenter.

It also announced that it has hired New York-based Related Cos., and several other companies to help finish the 2,998-unit hotel-condominium project after the original developer, New York-based Bruce Eichner, defaulted on a $760 million loan earlier this year.

Welcome announcement

The announcement was welcome news because it sends a strong message that the 3,000-room project, whose future had been murky, will go forward, said John Knott, executive vice president of the global gaming group at CB Richard Ellis.

“People weren’t sure what their plan was going to be going forward,” Knott said of Deutsche Bank. Having Related on board offers some important assurance. “The key is it moves toward completion,” he said, noting the property’s prime location between the Bellagio and MGM Mirage’s CityCenter project. “That’s got to be beneficial for everyone involved.”

Deutsche Bank continues to negotiate with hotel operators to operate the Cosmopolitan’s 80,000-square-foot casino, and an announcement is expected in the next few months, according to press reports citing a Deutsche Bank statement. The investment bank, however, has remained mum on whether the project will still open by the previously announced late 2009 opening date.

In addition to Related, W.A. Richardson Builders will consult on the design and construction of the casino and Perini Corp. signed a new contract to complete construction work on the project. Deutsche Bank also signed new agreements with Las Vegas-based architect The Friedmutter Group and Miami-based Arquitectonica.

Knott noted that he believes the Las Vegas gaming market will improve in the not-too-distant future, as housing prices in Las Vegas start to stabilize over the next year. “The gaming industry should start to see growth again at that point. There’s still a great demand for Las Vegas.”

Another important key will be Las Vegas’ ability to deliver tourists to the city and then ensure they can get around with relative ease.

CityCenter’s completion in 2009 should be a catalyst for visitation. As Knott noted,  “ It’s the largest private development in the history of the world, and I think that’s something that the world is going to want to come see.”

Sad news

Many in the gaming industry have been floored by the Aug. 25 passing of Adam Fine, former editor of this magazine, at age 39.

While I only had the pleasure of meeting Adam Fine on a few occasions, those brief encounters were enough to know he was a driving force behind this magazine during the years before he and his brother, Glenn, sold the magazine to what was then Gem Communications. And those meetings also confirmed why the magazine had always been such a formidable competitor to our publications. Adam always seemed to have keen insight into what was going on in the industry and made a lasting impression through not only Casino Journal, but also through Casino Player and Strictly Slots, which Adam and his brother built into highly successful magazines. He will be missed.