Meruelo Group agrees deal to purchase struggling SLS Las Vegas

Construction and real estate development firm Meruelo Group has reportedly agreed on a deal to purchase the SLS Las Vegas hotel and casino from current owner Stockbridge Capital Group for an undisclosed amount.

According to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, Meruelo Group already owns the 2,000-room Grand Sierra Resort And Casino in Reno, Nevada, while it expects to complete its purchase of the SLS Las Vegas during the third quarter of 2017 subject to receiving the necessary regulatory approvals.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to acquire a premier gaming property on the world-famous Las Vegas Strip,” read a statement from Alex Meruelo, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for Meruelo Group.

Formerly known as the Sahara Hotel And Casino, the 1,327-room Las Vegas property was bought by Stockbridge Capital Group and SBE Entertainment in 2007 subsequent to being shut four years later. It later underwent a $415 million renovation before being re-launched in 2014 as the SLS Las Vegas but has since struggled to turn a profit and reportedly chalked up a net loss of nearly $84 million for the first six months of 2015.

As a consequence, SBE Entertainment reportedly sold its 10% stake in the SLS Las Vegas, which features a trio of hotel 7BALL towers alongside a 50,000 sq ft casino offering some 600 slots as well as 60 gaming tables, to Stockbridge Capital Group in October of 2015 while last year saw Marriott International Incorporated subsidiary Starwood Hotels And Resorts Worldwide Incorporated take over the running of the property’s 289-room Lux Tower and convert it into its W Las Vegas venue.

Andrew Diss from Meruelo Group reportedly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that he expects the upcoming regulatory approval process to run smoothly as New York-born Meruelo already possesses a non-restricted Nevada gaming license.

The newspaper reported that the Sahara Hotel And Casino premiered in 1959 as the sixth casino on the Las Vegas Strip. Its subsequent 52-year history saw the venue host some of the most popular names in modern entertainment including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr and The Beatles. However, despite this and the construction of a new hotel tower in 1963 that was the state’s tallest at the time, the property’s hey-day was soon cut short following the opening of the nearby Caesars Palace Las Vegas in 1966.

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