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Las Vegas: Sahara raises $300 million for redo as an SLS hotel

May 01, 2012|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The Sahara before it shut down in May 2011.
The Sahara before it shut down in May 2011. (Laura Rauch / Associated…)

The iconic Sahara Hotel & Casino is coming back as a redesigned and reconceived SLS Las Vegas that's expected to open in 2014. Philippe Starck will do the interior design at what will become a resort with name-brand restaurants, clubs and more than 1,600 guest rooms and suites.

L.A.-based hotel and restaurant developer sbe, headed by Sam Nazarian and real estate investment firm Stockbridge Capital Group LLC announced Tuesday that they have raised $300 million to redo the hotel at the north end of the Strip. The hotel closed in May 2011.

"We see the northern end of the Strip as the future of Las Vegas, and we’re pleased to be positioned at the forefront of that growth,” sbe founder and chief executive Sam Nazarian said in a statement announcing the new project. "Las Vegas has recovered steadily in the past year, and we’re excited to be able to inject capital back into the local economy through the adaptive reuse of the famed Sahara."

Nazarian has teamed up with Starck before on SLS Beverly Hills near the Beverly Center and trademark restaurants Bazaar and Katsuya restaurants, which recently expanded beyond Los Angeles to San Diego and Houston. Sbe also recently opened the Redbury boutique hotel at 1717 Vine St. in Hollywood.

The redone Sahara will feature familiar SLS brands such as Bazaar restaurant with chef Jose Andres, a Katsuya restaurant and the nightclub Shelter.

The Sahara was a top Las Vegas resort in its day with a Moroccan vibe. It opened in 1952, and performers such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Louie Prima and others were the featured acts.

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