Las Vegas Sun

July 28, 2014

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Robin Leach reporting sale of Cosmopolitan

Since last year, New York development giant Related Cos. has been angling to take over the under-construction Cosmopolitan resort and casino, whose primary lender, Deutsche Bank, has begun foreclosure proceedings on the property.

Robin Leach, who purchased a unit at the Cosmopolitan, is reporting in a blog to be posted Thursday morning on the Las Vegas Weekly Web site that Related boss Steve Ross has agreed to purchase the Cosmopolitan.

The Sun could not confirm that report. What is clear, however, is that Related -- which developed the World Market Center in Las Vegas and the Time Warner Center in New York, among other high-end commercial complexes nationwide -- appears to be the forerunner among potential buyers.

The resort became a victim of the mortgage meltdown when Deutsche Bank sought more equity from developer Ian Bruce Eichner, who has since exited the $3.8 billion project.

Construction has continued under Deutsche Bank's ownership and Related officials remain in discussions about a purchase.

Related has linked up with the Starwood hotel giant on a Cosmopolitan bid and wants to brand it a W hotel. It hasn't been the only potential buyer to tour the site.

At one point, the likely buyer appeared to be hedge fund Marathon Asset Management, in partnership with Global Hyatt.

Besides taking on a project of this magnitude and a debt load of at least $1 billion, the winning bidder has another major hurdle to jump. Banks want assurance that buyers will be able to round up experienced operators who will be able to get licensed by Nevada gaming authorities.

It's unclear who Related and Starwood would have in mind for this role. Also unclear is whether Related simply wants to manage the hotel as a developer or whether it wants to fork over the cash necessary to buy it outright.

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