Desert Inn on the block?

Jul 3, 2001 6:02 AM

            The on-again, off-again demolition of the Desert Inn may be off for good.

            Steve Wynn’s shuttered resort has quietly received some sprucing up in recent weeks, with workers repairing walls and burnishing the exterior. The activity suggests that Wynn has abandoned plans to level the venerable hotel-casino ””and may be prepping the 715-room resort for sale.

            Sources say Starwood Hotels & Resorts could be back in the picture after selling the 218-acre Strip property to Wynn a year ago. “Look for the D.I. to become a St. Regis (Starwood’s premium brand),” speculated one industry insider.

            Starwood spokesmen did not return phone calls and Wynn spokesman Billy Vassiliadis said he had “no knowledge” of an impending sale.

            “The plans are still to build the next great resort attraction,” he said. “But if someone came in with a price that was 10 times the value, well, everything has a price.”

            Wynn, who purchased the Desert Inn and its golf course for $270 million, initially said he would unveil his plans for remaking the property this spring. But at this point, Vassiliadis said Wynn “is under no particular time constraints.”