It looks like the aging former Rat Pack Sahara hotel-casino in Las Vegas is closing (and shuttering) its doors in May 2011.
“[The Sahara is] no longer economically viable.” – Sam Nazarian, owner
The hotel-casino was purchased back in 2007 (shortly after the bubble had peaked) by Sam Nazarian, a Los Angeles nightclub owner and businessman. Nazarian had promised to make the aging casino more appealing to Las Vegas visitors.
According to the L.A. Times:
Nazarian, who also owns L.A.-area watering holes MI-6 and Hyde Lounge, purchased the Sahara at the tail end of the two-decade-long Las Vegas building boom. He intended to transform the run-down property into a hot spot for the rich and beautiful as part of a hotel chain called SLS, for “style, luxury and service.”
At the extreme north end of the strip, the Sahara is quite a long trek from, say, MGM Grand. For readers who haven’t been to Las Vegas before, the surrounding area becomes increasingly dilapidated and shady as one travels further north on the strip. It’s not the kind of place one wants to be after dark — especially if you’re female. The Sahara monorail station is also the closest station to the Stratosphere, so the closure could negatively impact revenues there even if the station remains open.
With the Sahara’s closure, the Strip’s north end will more closely resemble a recession-battered cul-de-sac rather than a top-notch tourist destination. Nearby sits the Fontainebleau hotel, a gleaming blue tower expected to stand unfinished for years; the carcass of Echelon, where construction stalled in 2008, and empty swaths where planned projects never broke ground.
While bubble bloggers have known for quite some time that Las Vegas is [Housing]doomed, it is rapidly becoming even more apparent to both the general public and to those unfortunate enough to own property there.
Maybe now they can build an even bigger Ferris Wheel.