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Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

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klondike

Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

Postby klondike » March 12th, 2011, 8:33 am

Rat Pack-era Sahara in Las Vegas is closing

Casino has been open since 1952; owners have no immediate plans for the property
The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS —

The Sahara Hotel & Casino, among a few Las Vegas Strip resorts left from the Rat Pack era, is closing nearly six decades after dealing its first hand.

Several other casinos from the earliest days of gambling in Sin City were remade into new megaresorts, but the Sahara's owners don't yet have a plan for the property. "The continued operation of the aging Sahara was no longer economically viable," CEO Sam Nazarian of owner SBE Entertainment Group said.

The Sahara, which opened in 1952, was featured in 1960's "Ocean's Eleven" as one of five casinos robbed by a group of World War II veterans. Today, it touts around-the-clock $1 blackjack and a six-pound burrito-eating challenge at its NASCAR Cafe. Nazarian said his company is considering options including a complete renovation and repositioning.

Nazarian said MGM Resorts International is helping find jobs for affected workers and accommodations for guests who reserved rooms after May 16. SBE officials declined to say how many people work at the Sahara.

MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren said the closure is part of the Sin City life cycle.

"While the closing of any hotel is sad, it is a natural and expected part of our great city's history," Murren said. "While today we pause to reflect on many great memories and stories of its legendary past, like so many before it, there is a brighter future for this property."

The two companies have an established marketing relationship.

Murren pointed to the Desert Inn making way for Wynn Las Vegas, the Dunes becoming the Bellagio, Aladdin renovating into Planet Hollywood and the original Las Vegas Sands giving way to the Venetian. And, when Murren's company built the $8.7 billion CityCenter, it used the land that had held the Coney Island-themed Boardwalk.

Phil Ruffin, the owner of Treasure Island in Las Vegas, said redevelopment of the Sahara would be good for the Strip, but he predicted SBE will have a hard time getting financing.

"I hope we live that long — I don't see it for a long time," he said. "I'd like to see it happen but I don't think it's anything imminent."

Ruffin said the Sahara's neighborhood looks "very bad."

The unfinished multibillion-dollar Fontainebleau development that filed for bankruptcy court protection is nearby. Billionaire Carl Icahn, who ultimately bought the property, sold its furniture to a casino on the California-Nevada border and hasn't said when construction might resume.

There's no guarantee something glamorous will emerge. The former site of the Landmark hotel, whose implosion in 1995 was included in the movie "Mars Attacks," now holds a parking lot for the Las Vegas Convention Center. After the Stardust was razed in 2007 so Boyd Gaming Corp. could build its $4.8 billion Echelon complex, the project stalled. And a $5 billion complex that was supposed to replace the New Frontier never materialized.

The Sahara first gave a hint that change was afoot the same day CityCenter's anchor casino, Aria, opened with 4,000 rooms in 2009. That's when the Sahara announced it was mothballing rooms in two of its towers for the winter season.

But Nazarian called the northern end of the Strip, which includes the Sahara, the "future of Las Vegas."

"With Las Vegas showing early signs of recovery, we are confident that we ultimately will find a creative and comprehensive new solution for this historic property," Nazarian said.

Vecchiolarry
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Re: Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

Postby Vecchiolarry » March 12th, 2011, 10:53 am

Hi,

I made it a habit to trudge up The Strip from the MGM Grand to the Sahara for lunch every time I was in Las Vegas. It was a long hike but always had a great lunch there; I had a friend who was a waitress there for years.
The Sahara will be missed along with its Arabian Nights theme....

Larry

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Lzcutter
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Re: Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

Postby Lzcutter » March 12th, 2011, 12:28 pm

Klon,

I wish I could but the news is true. The various owners since Bill Bennett died about 10 years ago have all been more interested in playing at "owning" a casino than actually doing any of the heavy lifting of actually owning a hotel/casino.

The guys who own the El Cortez (downtown on Fremont Street) have done a wonderful job of preserving their hotel's history and updating for today's consumer. It takes money and hard work but they have done a great job.

But the Sahara was never lucky enough to have owners that actually cared about the property.

I've written about the closing on my blog: www.classiclasvegas.squarespace.com

It includes links to the history of the Sahara.

It used to be a really great hotel. Jerry Lewis used to broadcast his MD telethon from there back in the early 1970s. Johnny Carson used to headline there. So much history.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Rita Hayworth
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Re: Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

Postby Rita Hayworth » March 12th, 2011, 2:14 pm

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves." Marty Scorsese

This is from Scorsese's quote that he has the bottom of his post ...

It's sad to hear this ... Unfortunately, I've never been in Las Vegas yet - but, I was planning on visiting it next year; its brings me great sadness to hear that the Sahara will be closing its doors in May. Marty Scorsese quote that LZCUTTER has reminded me that this true as time marches on. We lose a part of our identity. I was sad when my beloved KINGDOME got demolished back in March of 2000. As being a student of history, we have lost our heritage when we lose a part of ourselves when certain landmarks. Like the Kingdome being pictured here and the Sahara in Lzcutter's blog ... I feel hurt that I may never get a chance to see it - up close and personal. I guess that I have to watch "Mars Attacks" and "Diamonds are Forever" to see the Sahara in flims and through the Internet glancing at pictures.

Image

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mrsl
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Re: Lynn, Say it Ain't So!

Postby mrsl » March 12th, 2011, 4:22 pm

.
This new makes me so sad. I'll probably never get back to Vegas again, but I do remember being so upset with it from the first time I was in it, until shortly before I left. It was like walking into a house that had been left empty for years. It just had no pizz-azz, few smiles from employees, and just a tired, dingy look to it. Also, I just don't understand tearing down such an icon, but THAT'S LIFE :!:
.
Anne


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