Lady Luck to seek another delay for plan

When it comes to the Lady Luck, the names on the paperwork change but the inability to meet development deadlines remains the same.

Developers trying to revive the shuttered casino property in downtown Las Vegas will ask the city council today to extend the deadline for a master plan until March 18.

CIM Group of Hollywood, Calif., a development company that in July promised to put Lady Luck, “on the fastest track” to revival missed a Nov. 17 deadline to deliver a master plan for the Third Street property.

The Lady Luck shut down its casino, several hundred hotel rooms and displaced about 700 employees in early 2006. At the time owners said it would reopen within a year.

After 16 months and several missed deadlines, city officials welcomed the news that CIM Group was taking over from Andrew Donner, the Las Vegas developer who had been in charge.

The city is involved in the private project because developers want to include about 5.5 acres of city-owned property that includes the Frank Wright Plaza Park and a former post office in a historic building that is being converted to a mob museum.

The Lady Luck item before the council today would extend the time CIM has exclusive rights to negotiate with the city for the property. It would also allow CIM more time to deliver a master plan.

Neither city officials nor John Given of CIM Group returned calls seeking comment on the reason for the extension. According to documents attached to the council’s meeting agenda, the extension is necessary to give the National Park Service, which once owned the former post office, time to review the plans. One of the conditions of the city taking the property was that the park service is required to review redevelopment plans.


Single-family home construction skids

Construction of single-family homes in October skidded to the lowest level in 16 years although the slide was cushioned somewhat by a rebound in apartment building.

The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that total housing construction rose by 3 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.229 million units. But all the strength occurred in a hefty rebound in apartment construction, which is extremely volatile.

The bigger single-family sector fell by 7.3 percent to an annual rate of 884,000 units, the slowest pace since October 1991, when housing was going through another steep downturn. In another worrisome sign, applications for building permits fell for a fifth straight month.


Report paints dismal picture of Tropicana

Bedbugs and roaches. Overflowing toilets. Bathrooms that reek of urine. Muddy floors, grimy slot machines, and long waits for a drink or a jackpot payout.

A long-awaited report by state casino regulators paints a dismal picture of cleanliness and service at the Tropicana Casino and Resort. These complaints come not from an outside agency, but from the casino’s own files of correspondence from customers.

The complaints were among information Tropicana management wanted to have excluded from a hearing that started Tuesday before the state Casino Control Commission on whether the casino should have its license renewed.

Management and the casino’s largest union have battling over massive job cuts at the Trop since new ownership took over in January. Nearly 900 jobs — roughly one-quarter of the Tropicana’s work force — have been eliminated since it was purchased by Kentucky-based Columbia Sussex Corp.


Agreements signed on power plants

Agreements requiring companies planning coal-fired power plants to make pollution-control changes once the technology to do so becomes commercially feasible were signed Tuesday by company representatives and Nevada environmental regulators.

The memorandums of understanding, or MOUs, between the state Division of Environmental Protection and Sierra Pacific Resources, LS Power Associates and Sithe Global Power require the improvements in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The agreements also require the three coal-fired power plants to be designed so they can be retrofitted with technology to limit greenhouse gases.

Drozdoff told Charles Benjamin, head of Nevadans for Clean, Affordable, Reliable Energy, that the state is “proceeding with the permitting process for the three proposed power plants, setting forth all applicable environmental requirements for the plants.”


H&R Block chairman tenders resignation

Mark Ernst has resigned as chairman, president and chief executive of H&R Block, the tax preparation and accounting services company that is reeling from its foray into the collapsing subprime mortgage business.

The company said Tuesday that Ernst’s replacement as chairman is Richard Breeden, the former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who led a dissident shareholder group that won three seats on the H&R Block board.


October gaming win down in Mississippi

Mississippi’s gross gambling revenues fell to $218 million in October, down about $21 million from September.

Revenues in September were $239 million.

The gross earnings figure represents revenue with no operating costs or other expenses deducted. And it’s casino revenue only — separate from hotel, restaurant or bar revenues generated by the resorts.

Mississippi had gross gambling revenues of $221.4 million in October 2006, the Mississippi State Tax Commission reports.


Treasurys close mixed after Fed ’08 forecast

Treasury prices closed mixed Tuesday, drawing some support from a benign Federal Reserve forecast for 2008, but with gains limited by growing credit worries and light volume ahead of Thanksgiving.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury note rose 0.21 points to 101.56 with a yield of 4.05 percent, down from 4.07 percent late Monday. The benchmark yield this week fell below 4.1 percent for the first time since early September 2005.w

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