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Vegas resort planned at ex-New Frontier casino site; Australian mogul, ex-Wynn exec team up

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. - A new resort could soon spring up on the vacant Las Vegas Strip site of the former New Frontier casino, thanks to a partnership between Australian billionaire James Packer and former Wynn Las Vegas President Andrew Pascal.

The two announced Monday that they're forming a new company and acquired a controlling interest in the 35-acre (14-hectare) parcel, which has remained undeveloped since the storied New Frontier was imploded on Nov. 13, 2007. Groundbreaking is planned for 2015, while the resort could open as soon as 2018.

"You can't be in the gaming industry and not have a special reverence for Las Vegas — that's where it all began," said Packer, whose company, Crown Resorts Limited, has successful casinos in Australia, Macau and London. "While we fell short in past attempts to enter that market, we now have the ideal opportunity."

The New Frontier opened in 1942 and was known as the site of Elvis Presley's first Las Vegas performance in 1956. The implosion was meant to make way for a $5 billion hotel-casino based on the Plaza Hotel in New York City, but the project died when the recession hit, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The deal to redevelop the land has financial support from Oaktree Capital Management.

"We believed it was the best piece of undeveloped land on the Las Vegas Strip," Oaktree President Bruce Karsh said in a statement.

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