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2004-01-26 17:36:53

Las Vegas Style Extravaganza Set For Cable Beach

A Lyford Cay billionaire is planning to transform the Cable Beach strip into an entertainment extravaganza along the lines of Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

The consortium is attempting to strike a $1 billion investment agreement with the government.

Sources have told The Tribune that Dikron Izmirlian, a Swiss-Armenian billionaire who owns the largest real estate plot at Lyford Cay has plans to make the Cable Beach strip a 'one-stop' entertainment destination in line with the Las Vegas model, attracting leading singers, bands and entertainment groups for events such as concerts.

Comedy shows would also be on the agenda, and the casino license already held by the Wyndham means the ground has already been paved for legalised gambling.

Mr. Izmirlian controls an investment and philanthropic organisation the Izmirlian Foundation, and has made his fortune from real estate and property holdings across Europe. Through his foundation he lends money to entrepreneurs in his native Armenia.

Sources told The Tribune that the investors would like to see the hotel union sign its agreement with the Bahamas Hotel Employer's Association before moving on any commitment. It is also understood that they want simiar concessions to those obtained by Kerzner International for its Paradise Island developments, given that the Cable Beach project will be larger than Phase three at Atlantis.

The Cable Beach redevelopment provides a tremendous real estate opportunity but revolves around two further key factors - purchasing the Wyndham and Nassau Beach Hotels from their current owner Phillip Ruffin, and re-routing the road through the destination to free up some 350 acres on the southern side for development into properties such as timeshares, condos and lots.

Sources say the Izmirlian group is set to acquire the government owned Radisson in addition to the Wyndham and Nassau Beach hotels, with Mr. Ruffin set to instead focus on his Las Vegas interests.

It is unclear how much is being spent to acquire the three properties but it is thought that Mr. Ruffin is likely to receive $200-$300 million from the deal.

The Tribune 

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