Part of the Former Riviera Hotel-Casino Site in Vegas to Get New Life

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For more than five decades, the Riviera Hotel-Casino sat proudly among the casinos and resorts dotting the Las Vegas landscape. It was one of the originals to be included on the Las Vegas Boulevard row of gambling properties, but came to an end in 2015. The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) bought it that year, converting part of the 26-acre property into its existing Las Vegas Convention Center. That only occupied part of the site, and the LVCVA is now parting ways with another fraction that will eventually host a new resort.

Las Vegas to Get a New Resort

The LVCVA announced yesterday that it has finalized a deal, pending certain regulatory requirements, to sell ten acres of the site to Claudio Fischer, an entrepreneur from Chile who has his hands in a number of hospitality projects and airports. He’s behind the Monticello casino resort near Santiago, Chile, and the Park Hyatt Mendoza hotel-casino in Argentina, as well as properties in Panama. This would be his first foray into the Vegas casino scene, but the owner of Sun Dreams is no stranger to the industry.

The LVCVA purchased the property in 2015 for $182.5 million, razing it to expand its convention center. However, it didn’t need all of the land, and left a portion of it undeveloped. That led to Fischer’s involvement and an attempt to purchase ten acres that include a Vegas Strip presence.

Negotiations began prior to the arrival of COVID-19 last year and were only now able to be resumed. The LVCVA unanimously signed off on the sale yesterday, paving the way for Fischer to realize his long-held dream of being a Las Vegas casino entrepreneur.

New Vegas Resort In the Distance

Fischer, who is reportedly paying $120 million for the land, will have plenty of time to put together his project if he needs it. Per the agreement with the LVCVA, groundbreaking on a new resort at the site won’t need to start until January 1, 2031, at the latest, giving Fischer almost ten years to figure out what happens next. Fischer now has to make a $3-million non-refundable deposit before the end of next June, or $6 million if he needs four more months.

The entrepreneur has an interesting past that saw him go from airline pilot to airline owner and salmon entrepreneur. He’s well-established in the global hospitality business, and the LVCVA is anxious to see what he can bring to the city. Steve Hill, president of the LVCVA, asserted when signing off on the sale, “[Fischer’s] been in the gaming industry since 2000, so he has more than 20 years of experience. He’s a co-founder with his brother of (casino operator) Sun Dreams, the largest resort-casino operator in Latin America with 19 properties in Chile, Argentina, Panama, Colombia, and Peru; they reached an agreement that has not closed yet to merge with a company called Enjoy, in which they’ll be the majority owner of the combined operation. At that point, it will be about 75% of the gaming market in Latin America.”

He added, “We think Claudio would be a great neighbor. If you ever get to spend some time with him, you’ll enjoy it. He’s a very interesting and fine guy.”

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