Clooney-backed casino plans scrapped

In "Ocean's Eleven," George Clooney made a killing robbing Las Vegas casinos. However, it appears his Vegas dreams may only be in movies as he and his associates have scrapped their plans for a $3 billion resort complex near the Las Vegas Strip.

Real estate developers Related Las Vegas, Centra Properties, and Rande Gerber (Cindy Crawford's husband and Clooney's business partner) announced Monday that they sold the land they'd planned to build the resort on.

Related Las Vegas bought the 25-acre site one year ago and sold it to Edge Group, developers of the adjacent W Las Vegas condominium-hotel project, for $202 million – more than twice what they paid for it.

"I'll donate my profits from the sale to the African Debt Relief Project," Clooney said in a statement. "And I guess I'll find someplace else to gamble."

Clooney came on board the project in August 2005, helping name the project Las Ramblas and steering it toward a "vintage Vegas" feel.

Rather than focus on gaming, the complex was supposed to be residential and hotel oriented with the casino serving as an amenity rather than a centerpiece. The 30,000 to 40,000 square foot venue was meant to house 300 hotel rooms, more than 1,300 condominium hotel units, and more than 2,700 condominiums.

Rising construction costs and a drop in sales are said to be to blame for the failure of the project. The developers were going to have to rethink their design and add on additional hotel rooms, which also meant making the casino larger, taking them farther from their original intent.

"It became more about gaming than the residential community we were trying to build," said Related Las Vegas President Marty Burger. "We're the largest developer of residential property in the country, and we saw ourselves getting away from what we do best."

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