Sahara To Be Demolished*, SLS Hotel Opening 2014
» filed under Las Vegas tagged: sahara sam nazarian sbe comments: 17
SBE honcho Sam Nazarian has definitely learned the Steve Wynn Style of how to use newspaper column inches to his advantage. This time, he gets the Los Angeles Times to trumpet him as "the West Coast's most powerful nightclub operator" without actually visiting the places he's bought and assessing how much power is really contained therein.
Yes, SBE is gobbling up local nightclub & bar operators. Yes, he's forged a deal to toss M Life into the mix at these clubs too. Yes, he's managed to talk MGM suits into turning Fontana Bar at Bellagio into Hyde Lounge. He's managed to turn a coupla real estate flips and sales of a cellphone store into megawad conglomerate that brought him to buy the Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas for $330M a few years ago.
Sahara, in its current form has proven to not be "economically viable," hence the announcement that it will be closing on May 16 to be surrounded with fencing and patrolled by security golf carts until... well... who knows.
Riding on the wave of recent acquisitions, Nazarian chatted up the Los Angeles Times to feed hype towards an SBE stock IPO. Within, he painted Sahara closure with the same pie-in-your-thighs "special sauce" he painted his initial purchase with. Put on your reality distortion helmets, kids, The Naz is about to drop the other Saharan shoe. Sahara isn't closing because it/he/they failed, it is closing because they're going to destroy the property to build and open an SLS Hotel with six restaurants and two nightclubs in 2014. So sayeth Sam:
We've spent $30 million in design development drives; we're shovel-ready. If we were admitting defeat we would have admitted it.
Where's the public release of mouthwatering renderings? Where's the facts and figures? Who is the architect of record? Where's the big press conference with suited bozos carrying silver shovels and SLS branded chrome hard hats? What about the presentation before Clark County Planning Commission? Where's the press release touting where the money to build this - $3,4,5,6 Billion dollars? - is coming from? Is it possible to destroy and cart away Sahara and build a gigantic new place in 3 years? Where's the SLS Vegas website, with countdown clock, construction cam and sultry photos arranged in a sexy, 'this should be your life' kinda way?
It doesn't exist. None of it. Like nearly everything Sam Nazarian and SBE have said about their goings on in Las Vegas, this is all a magic trick.
My money is on Boyd Gaming, figuratively. Until Boyd makes a decision about Echelon, and acts on it one way or the other, no development at the northern end of the Strip makes financial sense. Echelon is the linchpin, and Boyd is one of the smartest, shrewdest operators in the space. They saw the writing on the wall before anyone did and made the difficult, but presciently brilliant move of pouring liquid nitrogen on Echelon just as it was starting to blast skyward.
Until then, Nazarian's wishful thinking that a brand new SLS Hotel - saddled with multi-billion dollars in debt load - makes more sense than a broken down, busted but still operating Sahara Hotel - saddled with a coupla hundred million in debt load that operates at a comparative trickle of a loss - only makes sense when the end of the game (the IPO) comes before you need to reach the actual goal line.
Coming soon to the Las Vegas Strip: Sam Nazarian's Hog Wash and Casino.
* Update: read the comments... at least partially demolished.
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