Tag Archives: Las Vegas monorail

Sahara Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas Shutters Two of Three Towers

For the first time in recent memory, a Las Vegas hotel is closing rooms in December, just before the New Year’s Eve holiday. 

A representative for the Sahara Hotel and Casino cited weak room demand as the reason it is closing two of its three towers, but said the closing is not permanent and reservations were still being taken. There was no word on whether staff members would be laid off. 

Last week, the resort’s buffet closed due to shrinking sales. A reopening date hasn’t been announced for the buffet or the towers. 

The Sahara’s announcement, coming on the heels of Binion’s closing of its hotel downtown earlier this month in yet another devastating blow for owners of smaller Las Vegas casinos. 

With the Decemeber opening of the 4,004-room ritzy ARIA resort in the $8.5 billion CityCenter, it just could be the result of competition that may be too much for properties that aren’t tied to massive gaming conglomerates. 

The Sahara is owned by Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment, which purchased the resort in 2007.   

When it opened in 1952, the Sahara was among the most famous hotels on the growing Las Vegas Strip, attracting mega-superstars such as Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack. 

In recent years, it has become the lone casino-resort at the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue. Although the Las Vegas Monorail (now facing bankruptcy- previous Las Vegas Backstage Access article) extends to the Sahara, its distance from the resort corridor and a lack of development at the intersection has left it in the shadow of other properties.

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Las Vegas Monorail Faces Bankruptcy

Administrators say the Las Vegas Monorail might seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in an effort to restructure its bond debt. 

Despite handing out extravagant raises for a losing operation, Board member Bruce Woodbury said the company hasn’t raised enough money from fares to pay off the $650 million in construction and startup loans floated to build and start operating the system in July 2004. 

The 3.9-mile system runs on an elevated track linking several large hotel-casinos and the Las Vegas Convention Center east of the Las Vegas Strip. 

And, despite its dismal failure, Woodbury says plans still call for building a whopping $500 million extension to Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport and other Strip resorts to boost revenues that didn’t happen with original monorail.

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