Crown Deal Boosts Strip Values

If a rising tide lifts all boats, the sale of property where the New Frontier once stood could bode well for all the property on that end of the Las Vegas Strip. The property has been acquired by Crown Resorts CEO James Packer, in partnership with investment firm Oaktree Capital.

In boom years, land sold for M per acre

MGM Resorts International Chairman Jim Murren says the sale of the former New Frontier to a partnership led by Australian billionaire James Packer is “ a bullish sign for investors” interested in the Las Vegas market.

For one thing, the sale marks a welcome boost in land values on the Strip: $9 million per acre according to Murren, or as much as $15.2 million per acre, according to Union Gaming.

Packer, CEO of Melbourne-based Crown Resorts Ltd., is forming a company with ex-Wynn Las Vegas President Andrew Pascal and investment firm Oaktree Capital Management to construct a hotel-casino on the 35-acre site where the New Frontier once was.

While the values are nowhere near the $33 million per acre paid by two Israeli companies for the tract in 2007, it is far more than the $4 million per acre Genting paid Boyd Gaming Corp. last year for the 87-acre Echelon site. Genting will develop Resorts World Las Vegas on that site.

Bruce Karsh, president of Oaktree, has called the New Frontier site “the best piece of undeveloped land on the Las Vegas Strip.”