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Ruffin, Trump on track

May 6, 2003 6:34 AM

Phil Ruffin, owner of the New Frontier, has succeeded in refinancing his $104 million mortgage on the Strip hotel, and says that Donald Trump is still on track to build a condo tower on Ruffin’s property.

Ruffin said that thanks to lower interest rates, his lender, Societe Generale, of New York, agreed to drop the interest rate on the mortgage to 5 percent from 8 percent. The proposed loan arrangement is on the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting of the Gaming Control Board.

"We refinanced the seller note on the Frontier, and need the OK from the board," said Ruffin, who bought the historic Frontier for $165 million in 1997. "(The hearing) shouldn’t last long."

Trump, he said, "is still going forward with his condos" on 3.5 acres of Ruffin’s property, across from Nordstrom’s and the Fashion Show mall.

Trump announced he would build a 60-story building with 300 high-end condos at a cost of $300 million. The site would be inside the Frontier’s massive rear parking lot. Construction was to have started by last fall and was to have been done by early next year.

As for the Frontier, which Ruffin has wanted to redevelop for years, "we’re still planning to take (it) down ”¦ I need to take in a partner."

"We’re trying to get a price (to redevelop the site)," he said. "Two or three companies are kicking the tires."

Trump is not one of them. "He’s not really part of the casino," Ruffin said.

Asked if he had been contacted by Steve Wynn, who is developing the planned $2.6 billion Le Reve resort right across the Strip, Ruffin laughed and said, "No comment. You’re trying to get me in trouble here!"