Hotel’s Conversion from Sahara to SLS Las Vegas Finally Starts

Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel & Casino, which closed in 2011 after decades as a Sin City icon, is finally beginning its transformation into the SLS Las Vegas.

Las Vegas’ Sahara Hotel & Casino, which closed in 2011 after decades as a Sin City icon, is finally beginning its transformation into the SLS Las Vegas.

Commercial Property Executive reported last May that the Sahara’s owner, SBE Entertainment Group L.L.C., of Los Angeles, and equity partner Stockbridge Capital Group, of San Francisco, were planning a $300 million makeover of the property. <internal.cpexecutive.com/cities/las-vegas/in-300m-makeover-sahara-will-be-reborn-as-sls-las-vegas/> SBE and Stockbridge had acquired the hotel in 2007 for an estimated $300 million to $400 million.

SBE’s announcement earlier this week about the renovated hotel’s “groundbreaking” was coy about exactly what the status was of the redevelopment. But the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday that interior construction was to begin this week and that the key in allowing the renovation to finally get under way was SBE’s obtaining “the last piece of the $415 million in financing” it needed for the project. That funding reportedly came through the federal EB-5 program, which encourages foreign investment into U.S. businesses that will create jobs.

Featuring more than 1,600 rooms and suites, the hotel-casino is scheduled to open in fall 2014. SLS Las Vegas will join the SLS Hotel Beverly Hills and The Redbury in Los Angeles and The Raleigh and SLS Hotel South Beach in Miami.

The Las Vegas property will include at least four restaurants: The Bazaar by José Andrés, Katsuya by Starck, Umami Burger and The Griddle Café, as well as four “nightlife experiences,” including Shelter and The Sayers Club.

The 10,000 square feet of retail will be handled exclusively by Fred Segal, which will operate seven boutiques there. In the year since Fred Segal’s acquisition by Sandow, of New York, the new owner has announced aggressive expansion plans, including stores in Japan and an anchor location in the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.