Fleet Financial Group has won the mandate to finance a $230 million shopping mall project adjacent to the Aladdin Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, developers confirmed Friday.

Fleet will make a $194 million mini-permanent construction loan to build the 450,000-square-foot facility, to be called Desert Passage Mall. TrizecHahn Corp., Toronto, is developing the project and putting up about 25% of its cost, sources said.

The loan has a five-year term plus extension options. Within the five- year period, TrizecHahn has the right to prepay the loan, refinance it, or extend its term.

"Fleet is a wonderful lender and has shown flexibility in structuring the loan," said Wendy Godoy, chief financial officer of TrizecHahn.

The commitment letter from Fleet was executed in late December and is expected to close in the next few months. Construction is expected to be completed in late 1999 or early 2000.

The development will be built next to the new Aladdin Casino-an $826.2 million project being built on the site of the old Aladdin Casino, which was imploded in November.

Bank of Nova Scotia, Merrill Lynch & Co., and CIBC Oppenheimer Corp. are leading the $410 million loan to back the hotel and casino construction. Bankers started syndication for the loan last month. On Thursday Merrill Lynch and CS First Boston kicked off a road show for a $110 million junk bond offering financing the deal.

The casino loan is expected to close the week of Feb. 22. The shopping mall loan is expected to close shortly thereafter. Those familiar with the project said that Fleet beat out a number of banks eager to finance the Aladdin mall.

"Fleet made an excellent, very syndicatable loan here, and yet they satisfied the needs of the customer very well," said Daniel Alpert, a managing director at Westwood Capital, New York, Aladdin's financial adviser.

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