Former Las Vegas Sands president, William Weidner and real estate developer Andrew Fonfa seem to have fallen back on “Plan A” to raise investment capital for their maverick Asian-themed gaming and entertainment venue just off The Strip on West Sahara Ave., in Las Vegas. Having already raised some $60 million in foreign capital through the EB-5 visa program for the Lucky Dragon Hotel & Casino, the project’s primary potential financing partner, First Foundation Bank, told the developers in November that they did not intend to provide $30 million in funds without a “material credit enhancement such as [tax increment] TIF financing” or the raising of an additional $25 million in EB-5 capital.
The Las Vegas Redevelopment Agency (LVRA) subsequently denied a request to offset taxes through tax increment financing, leaving the developers with the option of funding the rest of the project themselves, seeking alternate financing, or going back to the “green card” program in order to meet the bank’s demands.
The Las Vegas Economic Impact Regional Center (LVEIRC) has already helped the Downtown Grand become a reality and now they are focused on helping Lucky Dragon complete their project with an eye toward opening by August. The LVEIRC is headed up by William Weidner and Andrew Fonfa, and provides one-on-one assistance to investors “throughout their investment process and transition to life in the United States,” according the Center’s website.
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