|By Howard Stutz, Las Vegas Review-Journal|
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 22, 2005 - A Convention Center Drive hotel-casino that was once owned by a Hollywood legend and nearly became a wrestling-themed property has been sold to a New York real estate developer who plans to add the 5.65-acre site to the ever-growing high-rise luxury condominium market.
Moshe Mor, president of M&M Real Estate Development of Queens, N.Y., said Monday his investment group will pay $52 million for the Greek Isles, which Chicago-based Mark IV Realty owns. Mor said he hopes to close the transaction in April.
A contract -- dated Jan. 26 -- between M&M and Mark IV, which operates the Greek Isles under Convention Center Drive LLC, was filed with the Clark County Recorders Office on Feb. 8.
Mor said his group will demolish the current 206-room hotel and build a 600-room luxury condo project on a portion of the site. The remaining land, he said, would house a 1,000-room hotel and casino complex.
Mor said the Greek Isles was his company's first venture in Las Vegas. M&M, he said, has several developments in New York City.
Mark IV Realty of Chicago, whose president is John Marks, purchased the Greek Isles in December 2000 from the World Wrestling Federation for $11.2 million. At the time of the purchase, Marks said he had hoped to develop 1,000 rooms at the site.
A receptionist at the Greek Isles said the property's general manager wasn't available for comment.
The WWF bought the property out of bankruptcy for $10.6 million in 1999 with plans to develop the property into a 35-story hotel with a wrestling theme.
Before those events, the property was known as the Debbie Reynolds Hotel and was run by the actress and popular Las Vegas entertainer.
Reynolds bought the casino in 1992 and performed in the casino's showroom. She also housed her collection of Hollywood memorabilia there.
However, the property ran into financial trouble during her ownership, and she filed for bankruptcy protection in 1997.
Opened originally as the Royal American in the 1970s, the property closed in 1982 but was reopened a year later as the Paddlewheel, which carried a family theme and even included a kids-friendly pizza parlor.
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