Africa Israel Bets on Las Vegas Strip

Africa Israel, Lev Leviev's investment company, is expanding its American horizons to Las Vegas. The firm announced yesterday that it closed a $150 million deal in a 7.5-acre plot on the Strip, the city's main drag. The Strip, or more officially Las Vegas Boulevard, houses the city's most famous hotels, including MGM, Caesar's Palace, Paris, the Circus and the Excalibur.

Africa Israel CEO Pini Cohen commented that the company means to build a hotel, shops, and luxury apartments on the site. Just the planning stage for the grandiose complexes will take about a year.

At present the zoning rights for the area call for 300,000 square meters of built-up space, Cohen elaborated.

Africa Israel reported that in recent deals apartments on the Strip sold for $10,000 per square meter, while commercial properties were leased for $2,500 per square meter a year.

Africa Israel hopes to finalize the transaction toward the end of the year.

Leviev has also been busy on the East coast. He bought a large office building on Wall Street in July for $150 million and has begun converting it into apartments.

Africa Israel also announced yesterday that it has closed an $18 million deal in Miami, Florida, in partnership with U.S. developer Shaya Boymelgreen. The company will build a 45-story, 395-unit residential building and refurbish an existing 10-story office building on the property, according to Cohen.

The project is the company's second, in addition to its 61-story, 334-unit Marquis tower. Leviev's plans for Miami are even vaster. He has reportedly earmarked about a billion dollars for investment in the southeastern city.