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Mall developer opens wallet

One of the nation’s largest shopping mall companies is doing a little spending of its own in Las Vegas.

General Growth Properties of Chicago, considered the nation’s No. 2 mall operator, will spend about $600 million when it buys the retail space that will be part of Palazzo, a $1.6 billion hotel-casino Las Vegas Sands Corp. is building next to The Venetian on the Strip.

The amount was included in the latest earnings report General Growth filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

General Growth already owns several Las Vegas shopping centers, including the Grand Canal Shoppes in The Venetian, which it bought from Las Vegas Sands for $766 million in 2004. Other holdings are the Boulevard, Fashion Show and Meadows malls and the under- construction Summerlin Center.

The Palazzo retail center will be 450,000 square feet with Barneys New York as an anchor tenant. Palazzo is scheduled to open by the end of the year.

The first few months as the operator of the Hard Rock Hotel generated positive cash flow for Morgans Hotel Group.

In its earnings report Wednesday, Morgans said cash flow was $2 million in Hard Rock Hotel’s nongaming areas, with an additional $1.3 million collected in management fees for the quarter ending March 31.

Morgans said the Hard Rock Hotel has been averaging 96 percent occupancy since the company took control Feb. 2. The average daily room rate during the quarter was $195 per night, fueling a 7.4 percent room revenue increase over last year, when Peter Morton operated the property.

Base Entertainment, which signed a deal with Las Vegas Sands Corp. recently to bring the Broadway hit "Jersey Boys" to the Palazzo in 2008, is partnering with the casino operator in Macau and Singapore.

The first project will be a new Cirque du Soleil production, scheduled for summer 2008, that will be housed in a custom-built, 1,800-seat theater inside the $2.4 billion Venetian Macau, which opens in August.

In 2009, Base will produce a theatrical production for the $3.6 billion Marina Bay Sands, now under construction in Singapore.

If the new payout schedule for the World Series of Poker had been in place last year, main event champion Jamie Gold would have collected a little more than $10 million, rather than his $12 million payday.

Harrah’s Entertainment changed how the World Series of Poker calculates the tournament payouts to increase rewards to players who finish in the money but don’t reach the final tables. The move will take money from the upper tier and move it to lower finishers.

The Inside Gaming column is compiled by Review-Journal gaming and tourism writers Howard Stutz, Benjamin Spillman and Arnold M. Knightly. Send your tips about the gaming and tourism industry to insidegaming@reviewjournal.com.

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