Goodbye New Frontier, Hello Plaza Hotel

We knew it was just a matter of time before the New Frontier was either demolished or remodeled. Today we got our answer.

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

An Israeli-owned real estate investment group, in what is being called the most expensive large-site transaction on the Strip, has bought the New Frontier and its 36 Strip acres for more than $1.2 billion, the casino's current owner, Phil Ruffin, confirmed late Tuesday.

Ruffin said El Ad Properties, which controls several landmark New York City buildings, signed the purchase agreement last week for the hotel-casino site.

Ruffin, a Wichita, Kan., businessman who paid $167 million for the New Frontier in 1998, had been seeking an equity partner to help finance redevelopment of the New Frontier into a 2,750-room Swiss-themed resort.

He said a $100 million deposit on the deal arrived Monday.

"We're under contract, and that means we're doing the deal," Ruffin said. "We've been successful with the property, but it got to a point where it was better to let someone else come in and redevelop the site."

Ruffin had been in negotiations with El Ad since March. An Internet-based real estate Web site reported a deal had been struck to sell the New Frontier to El Ad for $1.5 billion on March 19, but Ruffin denied the reports.

Ruffin and gaming sources familiar with the deal said El Ad will close the aging Western-themed hotel-casino when the transaction is completed in 90 days. The 984-room New Frontier will be demolished, and El Ad will build a replica of New York's landmark Plaza Hotel on the site.

That's one hell of a return on his investment. Bought for $167 million, sold for $1.2 billion. I'm in the wrong business.