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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended June 25, 2000
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Sent on Mormon-News: 23Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Marriott Keeping Its Distance From Las Vegas
(A Euro-Style Lake Resort Grows in the Desert)
Wall Street Journal pgB12 21Jun00 B4
By Christina Binkley
Bass Family to Announce Plans for a Ritz-Carlton At Lake Las Vegas Site

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA -- While most major hotel chains have a casino-hotel on the Las Vegas strip, the Marriott corporation is noticeably absent. Company policy, set by Marriott's founder, LDS Church member J. Willard Marriott Sr., doesn't allow the company to own or operate a casino, or even associate with one. But the Marriott-controlled Ritz-Carlton hotels may now come as close as any Marriott controlled operation ever has.

The billionaire real estate mogul Bass family and their partners are putting together a major development 17 miles from the Las Vegas strip called Lake Las Vegas, which sits on a man-made lake created to satisfy a rancher who held-out when the US Government bought up the land now under Lake Mead. They are expected to announce plans for a Ritz-Carlton hotel, 900 condominiums, a span, casino, luxury shopping and office-space development at the resort, which is meant to cater to a more upscale clientele than the Las Vegas strip

But Marriott has put some restrictions on the deal. Unlike other Las Vegas area casino-hotel complexes, Ritz-Carlton will have no financial involvement in the casino, which will be connected to, but operated separately from, the hotel. Marriott is taking an undisclosed financial position, which includes a mezzanine loan, in the hotel portion of the project.

Ritz-Carlton hasn't ruled out other resorts in Las Vegas. This is its third plan in the Las Vegas-area, following an earlier deal with MGM Grand Inc. on the Las Vegas strip that Ritz-Carlton backed out of, and a private spa outside the city. Ritz-Carlton's vice president of development, Phil Keb adds the Lake Las Vegas deal doesn't preclude another on the strip, "We will still consider doing a strip resort," he says.


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