No mega-casino to be built in Spain

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Posted: Saturday, December 14, 2013 12:00 am

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the casino operator controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has abandoned a plan to build a mega-resort in Spain for more than $30 billion and will focus on Asia instead.

“We do not see a path in which the criteria needed to move forward with this large-scale development can be reached,” Adelson said.

The decision by the world’s largest casino business ends the prospect of a development that backers said would have helped improve Spain’s ailing economy and cut its 26 percent jobless rate. The project, announced in February, would have created Europe’s largest resort in the Madrid suburb of Alcorcon.

Adelson, who visited the capital city last month, sought assurances from Spanish officials that tax rates and other conditions wouldn’t be changed by future governments. He also sought exemptions to Spain’s ban on smoking in public places and limits on Internet gambling. — Bloomberg News

DES MOINES — The Des Moines airport again has topped the 2-million-travelers mark and appears headed to a record year.

Figures for November pushed the airport’s passenger total to 2.02 million, the Des Moines Register said.

Ridership is 5.6 percent ahead of last year, when more than 2 million passengers flew out of the airport for the first time. For years, the passenger count hovered close to 1.7 million.

On the other hand, the amount of freight is down 4.3 percent from 2012. Airport Executive Director Don Smithey says that’s partly due to online retailers moving freight by truck or rail. — AP

Simon Property Group Inc., the largest U.S. mall owner, plans to spin off its strip-center business and smaller enclosed malls into a new company.

The new real estate investment trust, referred to as SpinCo, will own all or part of 54 strip centers and 44 malls and is expected to generate net operating income of more than $400 million in its first year, said Simon, based in Indianapolis. All told, SpinCo will operate 53 million square feet of retail space in 23 states.

Simon is focused on redeveloping its top regional malls, opening outlet centers and investing overseas to boost growth. The company, whose strip-center business accounts for 3.3 percent of its net operating income, said the new trust will be better able to pursue acquisitions and development.

The transaction “allows this group of spun-off assets to have a life of their own with a dedicated management team,” said Paul Adornato, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in New York. — Bloomberg News

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