Arquitectonica's Las Vegas Resort Suffers Setbacks

July 16, 2009

By Tony Illia

Arquitectonica’s hard-earned debut on the Las Vegas Strip has hit some snags.

The Miami-based firm designed the $3.9 billion, 3,000-room Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino currently under construction at 3700 Las Vegas Boulevard. But like so many other projects in the U.S. affected by the troubled economy, the building’s completion date has been pushed back.

Model of one-bedroom house
Image courtesy Arquitectonica
Miami-based Arquitectonica designed the $3.9 billion, 3,000-room Cosmopolitan Resort & Casino currently under construction in Las Vegas.

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The Cosmopolitan consists of two 600-foot-tall blue glass towers perched atop a crystalline four-level podium. The 6.9-million-square-foot development, situated between the Bellagio and Monte Carlo resorts, will feature 2,200 condo-hotel units, which are residences that double as hotel rooms when not in use by homeowners. Initially scheduled to be finished this December, the Cosmopolitan is now expected to open in June 2010.

Trouble arose last year when the project’s developer, Ian Bruce Eichner, defaulted on loan payments and lost the project. In September 2008, Deutsche Bank AG bought the property from foreclosure for $1 billion dollars, and subsequently hired New York-based Related Companies to oversee the building’s completion. Related was likely hoping the third time would be a charm: It previously failed to build two high-rise condo projects of its own in Las Vegas, the Icon and Las Ramblas, both designed by Arquitectonica and canceled in 2005 and 2006, respectively, due to financing woes.

Shortly after it acquired the Cosmopolitan project, Related recommended more muted room interiors as opposed to the flashy design originally created by Dallas-based Paul Duesing Partners. The interior design firm revamped the scheme, but Deutsche Bank was unhappy with the results. Earlier this year, construction was halted on portions of the West Tower while a "more commercial" appearance is developed, say sources. Friedmutter Group of Las Vegas, the project's architect-of-record, and Miami-based CAD International are creating the new look.

The project has suffered additional problems: earlier this year, disgruntled condo buyers filed three separate class action lawsuits in Clark County Court, alleging that the delayed completion violates purchase agreements. The lawsuits have since been combined into a single case with 400-plus plaintiffs. Homebuyers want more than $200 million in deposits returned; deposits ranged from $130,000 to $4 million.

Arquitectonica and Deutsche Bank declined to comment for this story. Related Companies did not return phone calls.

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