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November 26, 2014

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Palms plans condo-hotel tower

Not satisfied with expanding hotel rooms at the Palms resort, owner George Maloof has announced plans to build a 520-foot hotel-condominium tower behind the property to capitalize on the recent popularity of high-rise residences in Las Vegas.

The condo-hotel tower, called Palms Place, will feature 599 condo units and start construction next year. It will feature a private, gated entryway, a 50,000- square-foot pool and spa and valet parking. The property originally planned to add more traditional hotel rooms but decided about a year ago to look into condo-hotel units because of demand for residences, Maloof said.

Fully furnished units will range from 600 square feet to 7,000 square feet and be priced from half a million dollars to $7 million.

The move comes as Las Vegas embarks on a high-rise construction boom, with dozens of condo and time-share towers under way or on the drawing board. MGM Mirage is building a condo-hotel tower behind MGM Grand and is planning to build several high-rise residences as part of its $4.7 billion CityCenter development at the site of its Boardwalk property. The Aladdin also plans to build high-rise residences. And the Hard Rock, which competes mightily for customers with the Palms, bought land behind its resort in September to build four condo-hotel towers and up to 1,500 units at a cost of $1 billion.

Condo-hotels, the latest real estate concept in Las Vegas, allow condominium owners to rent units out to visitors by the night.

Maloof said his project, called Palms Place, will be different because the Palms has a celebrity following and a significant number of stars -- including NFL and NBA players, A-list Hollywood actors and rock stars -- will be reserving units in the tower. The tower will be exclusive because only one will be built unlike other projects where multiple towers are planned over time.

"People are buying the brand," Maloof said. "We've been asked time and time again whether we're going to go public. They believe in us as operators and this gives them an opportunity to buy something in Las Vegas, an extremely hot market."

Palms Place will feature its own access and valet as well as other amenities that won't be available to the public. Guests will be able to enter the resort from an enclosed and elevated moving walkway.

Last year Maloof revealed plans to build a 40-story hotel tower next to the property. The 347-room tower will include 46 suites and "sky penthouses." Party suites will feature sound insulation and include swimming pools, fireplaces and a basketball court.

The condo-hotel and hotel tower will bring the total number of rooms at the Palms to about 1,360, more than tripling its inventory.

Even with the expansion, the Palms will still be smaller than the big resorts around town, Maloof said.

The property gets "thousands of calls from people who can't stay here because there are no rooms available," he said.

The hotel tower will include an 8,000-square-foot recording studio allowing guests to record music from remote units in their suites. A screening room and lounge for VIPs also will be part of the new hotel tower. The Palms last year entered into a licensing agreement with Playboy Enterprises Inc. to develop a Playboy-brand lounge and retail store.

The Jerde Partnership of Los Angeles is designing the hotel and condo towers, which carry a total pricetag of about $600 million.

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