S.F. HEART OF CASINO PROPOSAL

LAS VEGAS — The designer who sold Kirk Kerkorian on the concept for New York-New York, the city-themed gaming resort that opened with the highest cash flow margins in Las Vegas history, is planning a sequel.

Former musicvideo producer Mark Advent says he’ll announce the partners and Strip location of a new $500 million project called the San Francisco Hotel & Casino within 90 days.

But several Las Vegas casino executives doubt the project will ever get off the ground, saying no gaming company will accede to Advent’s demands for a 20% stake in the proposed 2,000-room resort.

A Transamerica Corp. spokesman says the insurance giant’s lawyers also oppose incorporating a scaled-down version of the Transamerica Tower in the project, though Advent says those negotiations are still open.

Advent and onetime Reagan White House media advisor Sig Rogich, now a Las Vegas ad exec, convinced MGM Grand Inc. owner Kerkorian and joint-venture partner Gary Primm of Primadonna Resorts Inc. that the New York-New York concept was a winner after several other gaming operators passed on that deal.

Since opening in January, the $460 million hotel-casino depicting the Manhattan skyline has been posting cash flow margins above 50%.

Advent, who received about $5 million for that idea, now wants upward of $100 million for conceptualizing a resort depicting several San Francisco landmarks.

“But I’m flexible,” he says. “There’s lots of ways to structure a deal.”

Otherwise, Advent said, there won’t be a San Francisco-themed hotel-casino in Las Vegas “because I own the rights to it.”

Not necessarily, say other designers, citing public-domain issues. As architect Joel Bergman, who’s developing the $700 million Paris hotel-casino Hilton Hotels Corp. is building on the Strip, asks, “Do Gaugin’s relatives own the South Seas?”

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