The Las Vegas rumor mill has been working overtime lately, and this one’s a doozy.
We’re hearing SLS Las Vegas has been sold to Alex Meruelo and his Meruelo Group, which we didn’t entirely know existed until about 15 minutes ago.
Which brings two questions to mind immediately. First, what just happened? Second, who is Alex Meruelo?
As for the first question, seriously, though. Unconfirmed, rumors and speculation, the usual disclaimers and all that.
The Alex Meruelo part we can help with. Alex Meruelo’s company, Meruelo Group, has a number of assets, but the one most relevant to owning a casino on the Las Vegas Strip is Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nevada.
Grand Sierra Resort has gone by a few names, including MGM Grand Reno, Bally’s Reno and Reno Hilton.
Meruelo also has interests in construction and engineering, television, radio, real estate, food services and private equity, whatever that might actually be.
If rumors of the sale of SLS Las Vegas are true, it would be another fascinating chapter in the history of the boutique resort that was once the classic Sahara.
Our source says there’s been some talk of changing the resort’s name back to Sahara, which would be several kinds of cool. There’s apparently been discussion about changing the casino’s loyalty club from “Code” to “52.” The Sahara opened in 1952.
It’s likely Meruelo would rebrand SLS Las Vegas, as he did with Grand Sierra Resort when it was purchased in 2011. The sale of SLS would likely lead to the demise of two of the best restaurants in town, Bazaar Meat and Cleo, licensed from a former partner of the resort, SBE Entertainment.
SLS Las Vegas, owned by Stockbridge Real Estate, has struggled since it opened in August 2014.
We’re hearing there’s been some internal drama at SLS Las Vegas, and that the sale has been in the works since October 2016.