Who’s next…

…to go on the Strip? According to Liz Benston at the Sun, the Riviera might not be such a bad bet:

A group of experienced real estate developers has reached an agreement with the chief executive of the company that owns the Riviera to buy out his shares of stock in the casino’s parent company — a deal experts say will allow the group to eventually take over the company and redevelop the aging Las Vegas property.

Riviera Holdings Corp., which owns the Riviera on the Strip and the Riviera Black Hawk in Colorado, has been subject to numerous buyout offers and other redevelopment proposals over the years, none of which came to fruition.

Some experts say the purchase agreement is different than the past deals because it is led by a group capable of financing the purchase and redevelopment of a major Strip resort, whereas previous groups did not have the expertise or ability to finance a makeover that could cost more than a billion dollars. The deal was made public in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

The group purchasing Riviera shares includes Barry Sternlicht, the former chief executive of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Las Vegas real estate developer Brett Torino and Chicago real estate executive and casino investor Neil Bluhm. Torino and Bluhm declined to comment further on the agreement, and Sternlicht could not be reached for comment by press time.

Riviera officials, including Chief Executive Bill Westerman, also declined comment.
Las Vegas SUN: Rebirth of the Riviera?

Then again, you might want to look at the other end of the Strip. David McKee at the Business Press says the Klondike’s days are numbered:

For 45 years, the Klondike Hotel & Casino has stood at the southernmost edge of the Las Vegas Strip. But instead of embodying history it may soon be history.

Last September, the land under the Klondike was purchased by Royal Palm Las Vegas, a subsidiary of Boca Raton, Fla.-based condominium developer Royal Palm Communities. Royal Palm intends to build a condo-hotel casino resort of 1,000 to 1,600 units on the site and on land immediately to the north, adjacent to McCarran International Airport. Potential construction on those 10.6 acres is height-restricted at 20 to 25 stories and zoned for a maximum of 1,800 units, according to Royal Palm CEO Daniel Kodsi.

“Like anything else, progress takes its toll, my friend,” said Klondike owner John Woodrum, who has run the grind joint for decades. “You can only stand in the way of it so long and it rolls over you.”Woodrum hasn’t made any announcement yet. “When I have a fixed time that I’ll be leaving, then I’ll let everyone know. That could be as much as two years down the road.”

Klondike living on borrowed time

A trip down to the Klondike is worth it if you can get to talk with John Woodrum, who’s got more great stories about “old Vegas” than almost anyone I know.

In “related” news, a Business Press article on the Related Companies’ two big misses in Vegas contains an interesting note about condo pricing:

“We’re quoting $400 per square foot for condos based on the design and pricing from local subs,” said Dick Rizzo, chairman of Perini Building Co. “The general rule of thumb is that sale prices will have to be double that amount or more in order for the project to be profitable, which means prices of $800 to $1,200 per square foot.”

So a 700-sq. ft. 1-bedroom costs a cool $840,000. That’s a pretty small 1-bedroom, too. But it’s probably got a great view and is convenient to Strip traffic.

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