LVCVA approves $120 million sale of former Riviera site Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports · October 12, 2021 at 3:26 pm The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority Tuesday signed off on the sale of 10 acres on the site of the former Riviera Hotel-Casino on the north Strip to Claudio Fischer, a Chilean entrepreneur and real estate developer who owns airlines and hotels including the largest casino-resort in Latin America. The $120 million land sale, at $12 million per acre, requires the property be developed as a resort development and Fischer is required to start construction by Jan. 1, 2031. The LVCVA board authorized CEO Steve Hill to execute the agreement with CB Investment SpA that allocates up to $5 million to be spent for license fees, closing costs, and other contractual items. The iconic Riviera operated on Las Vegas Boulevard from 1955 to 2015 and the 26-acre site was acquired by the LVCVA for $182.5 million and demolished to make way for the expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center. The 10 acres with Strip frontage weren’t needed as part of that expansion. Hill told the board that he flew to Santiago, Chile, where Fischer’s companies are headquartered, after Fischer made an offer of $120 million. Fischer did not attend Tuesday’s meeting in Las Vegas. “We had an illuminating time with Mr. Fischer. We got to see his flagship property (Monticello Grand Casino) south of Santiago and the impressive operation he has there,” Hill said. “It’s a beautiful property, with a convention center, arena, hotel, and casino on a great site.” Hill told the board he thought they had the land sale completed early in 2020 before the pandemic delayed the process. “Claudio came back late last year and, early this year, we restarted that conversation. We’ve been working through this year to reach the point where are today,” Hill said. Claudio Fischer is a former commercial airline pilot who owns two airlines and in the mid-1980s got into the salmon-farming business. He became the second largest aquaculture salmon farmer in the world, a business he sold in 2018, Hill said. “He’s been in the gaming industry since 2000, so he has more than 20 years of experience,” Hill said. “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.” Fischer and his partner and brother Humberto Fischer are entrepreneurs and real estate developers throughout South and Central America and in the U.S. Their business portfolio includes residential and commercial real estate, primarily in South America. The hospitality-focused Sun Dreams focuses on gaming, with five five-star-rated hotels, 66 food and beverage outlets, and convention centers. “Claudio has been interested in Las Vegas for some time,” Hill said. “Several of our companies here in town know Claudio to be a very credible operator whom we would welcome to Las Vegas. 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.” The LVCVA purchased the 20-acre site of the imploded Landmark Hotel for $15.1 million in 1993, which until 2018 was used for surface parking and outdoor exhibition space. The Riviera acquisition in 2015, and the subsequent demolition and improvement for $52.5 million, became known as Phase 1 of the Las Vegas Convention Center District project. The LVCCD Phase 2 West Hall expansion was designed within the approximately 46-acre parcel combining the Landmark and Riviera sites, Hill said. In the summer of 2018, the board approved the additional acquisition of parcels known as the Kishner and Siegel properties located off Convention Center Drive. These two acquisitions added approximately 9.6 acres for $63.3 million, increasing the LVCVA’s acreage west of Paradise to 55.6 acres, Hill said. The additional land not only allowed the West Hall to be better situated on the property, particularly in relation to the adjacent hotel to the east, it also made the 10-acre parcel available for sale. The board authorized the sale of the parcel along Las Vegas Boulevard in March 2019. The sale of the land will not adversely impact the building operation, customer utilization, or transportation circulation required for the new West Hall, Hill said. The sale requires a deposit of $3 million, which is nonrefundable. The closing date is no later than June 30, 2022, unless the buyer pays an additional $3 million to extend it to no later than Oct. 31, 2022. The sale proceeds will be used to fund renovations of Convention Center exhibit halls.