|By Ron Sylvester, Las Vegas
SunMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 08, 2013--The Genting Group got a steal on the Strip land it bought this week to build Resorts World Las Vegas, a 3,500-room Chinese-themed resort.
The Malaysian company paid Boyd Gaming only $350 million for the 87-acre site of the imploded Stardust and failed Echelon.
By comparison, Phil Ruffin sold the 36-acre New Frontier property in 2007 for $1.24 billion, a Las Vegas record.
To be sure, Genting will spend much more getting the resort built and running. The project is expected to cost between $2 billion and $7 billion when complete.
How will that price tag compare to neighboring resorts?
Here's a look at the cost, size and scope of some of Las Vegas' most iconic properties:
Bugsy Siegel sank $4 million into the Flamingo in 1947. His mobster partners were so outraged by the amount that they had him killed at his girlfriend's home in Beverly Hills.
None of the original buildings of the Flamingo remain. New towers were built from 1976 to 1993.
The 15-acre resort now includes 3,626 hotel rooms and a 77,000-square-foot casino.
The Riviera opened in April 1955 with a price tag of $8.5 million. It has survived several bankruptcies, the latest in 2010 when it tried to shed almost $300 million in debt.
The property includes 2,075 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino and 160,000 square feet of meeting space.
Owners say a $35 million renovation is in the works, but construction has yet to begin.
The Tropicana, which opened in April 1957, cost $15 million to build.
The hotel passed through several owners and numerous renovations.
In 2009, Alex Yemenidjian, former president of the MGM Grand, bought it out of bankruptcy for $450 million. Yemenidjian renovated the existing structure for $180 million.
The resort has 1,500 rooms, a 50,000-square-foot casino and 60,000 square feet of meeting space. Earlier this year, it signed an branding agreement with DoubleTree by Hilton.
Caesars Palace, which opened in August 1966 after four years of construction, was financed by a $35 million loan Jay Sarno obtained from the Teamsters pension fund. The original 14-story tower had 680 rooms.
The Centurion Tower, where the Nobu Hotel opened this year, was added in 1970 for $4.8 million.
Caesars now has 3,960 rooms in six towers, including the $1 billion Octavius Tower, which opened in January 2012.
The resort has more than 300,000 square feet of meeting space, the 4,100-seat Colosseum theater and a 5-acre pool complex.
Kirk Kerkorian spent $60 million in 1969 to build the 1,512-room International Hotel, which at the time was the world's largest hotel.
A rocky start allowed Barron Hilton to snap up the property, along with the Flamingo, for $54 million in 1973.
Rough times returned in 2001, and the 56-acre property was sold for $280 million in 2003.
Now called the LVH, the 2,973-room property is owned by Gramercy Capital Corp. and Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. It has 95,000 square feet of casino space and a 30,000-square-foot sports book, the world's largest. It also features 200,000 square feet of meeting space.
Steve Wynn built the Mirage for $620 million. When it opened in November 1989, it was the most expensive casino resort in history and the first financed through Wall Street.
MGM bought it in 2000 as part of a $6.2 billion deal that included the Bellagio and Treasure Island.
The Mirage has 3,044 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino and 170,000 square feet of convention facilities.
The 112-acre MGM Grand opened in December 1993 at a cost of $1.1 billion. It was the world's largest hotel at the time, with four 30-story towers, 5,044 rooms and 751 suites.
It also has a 170,000-square-foot casino and 380,000 square feet of convention space.
MGM Resorts International has spent $160 million renovating the resort over the past two years.
The Stratosphere opened in 1996 at a cost of $850 million. The hotel has 2,427 rooms, an 80,000-square-foot casino and 17,000 square feet of meeting space.
At $1.6 billion, the Bellagio was the most expensive hotel ever built when it opened in 1998 on the site of the former Dunes.
MGM Resorts International bought the hotel from Steve Wynn, along with the Mirage and Treasure Island, in 2000 for $6.2 billion. The company has spent almost $500 million since then on additions and renovations.
The Bellagio today has 3,933 rooms, more than 100,000 square feet of casino space and 200,000 square feet of convention space.
Mandalay Bay, developed by Circus Circus, opened March 2, 1999, with a price tag of $950 million -- almost as much as it cost to build both the Luxor and Excalibur.
The resort has 3,211 rooms and a 135,000-square-foot casino. Its convention center is the nation's fifth largest, with 1.7 million square feet. It also has a 12,000-seat arena.
In 2005, MGM Resorts International bought Mandalay Bay as part of a $6.4 billion deal that included the Luxor, Excalibur and Circus Circus.
Mandalay Bay is undergoing a massive renovation this year.
Venetian and Palazzo
After completing the $1.8 billion Venetian in 1999, Sheldon Adelson added the $1.9 billion Palazzo nine years later to create the world's largest resort.
The Palazzo alone comprises more than 6.9 million square feet, making it the building with the largest floor space in the United States. The Sands Convention Center, the second largest in the nation, offers more than 2 million square feet of meeting space.
The Palazzo has more than 3,000 rooms. The Venetian has more than 4,000.
Wynn and Encore
Steve Wynn built his namesake resort for $2.7 billion in 2005.
Three years later, he spent another $2.3 billion to build its twin tower, the Encore.
The Wynn has 2,716 rooms. The Encore has 2,034. The complex covers 214 acres and includes a 7,042-yard, 18-hole golf course.
Phil Ruffin sold the 36-acre New Frontier property in 2007 for $1.24 billion, the largest price-per-acre land sale in Strip history, to Israeli developers the El-Ad Group.
The company announced plans to build an $8 billion Las Vegas Plaza, but ground was never broken.
Construction then began on the $2.9 billion Fontainebleau, but work stalled.
Investor Carl Icahn acquired the property out of bankruptcy for $156.2 million in 2009. Today, the mostly finished 68-story structure sits untouched.
MGM Resorts International finished its $8.5 billion CityCenter, the most expensive Strip project to date, in December 2009 as the U.S. economy was in free fall.
The complex includes the Aria, which has 4,004 rooms, a 150,000-square-foot casino and 300,000 square feet of meeting space; Crystals, a 500,000-square-foot mall; the Mandarin Oriental, which has 392 rooms; the Vdara, which has 1,495 rooms; and Veer Towers, a 335-unit condominium complex.
The entire CityCenter resort is 67 acres.
The 8.7-acre Cosmopolitan is the most expensive resort on the Las Vegas Strip. It cost $3.9 billion to build and opened in December 2010.
It has 2,995 rooms, a 100,000-square-foot casino and 150,000 square feet of meeting space.
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