Former Riviera Land on Las Vegas Strip Sold to Chilean Gaming Czar

Posted on: October 12, 2021, 03:05h. 

Last updated on: October 13, 2021, 10:13h.

Part of the land where the Riviera stood for 60 years on the Las Vegas Strip will soon have a new owner. And he is no stranger to the casino business.

Las Vegas Riviera land Strip casino resort
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has found a buyer for its 10 acres of Strip-facing land that was once occupied by the Riviera. The buyer is a Chilean gaming group that has agreed to fork over $120 million for the parcel. (Image: Google Maps)

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) agreed today to sell its 10 acres of Strip-front property for $120 million. The buyer is CB Investment SpA, a newly formed entity based in Chile.

CB Investment SpA is controlled by Chilean businessman Claudio Fischer, a veteran gaming executive who, along with his brother Humberto, acquired ownership of Sun International, parent company to the Sun Monticello casino resort near Santiago, in 2016.

Since then, the Fischers have expanded their gaming empire to include five additional casinos in Chile. Combined, Sun International says it operates approximately 8,200 slot machines and 400 table games, which makes it the second-largest Chilean gaming operator.

Resort Mandate

The LVCVA purchased the bankrupt Riviera hotel and casino in early February 2015 for $182.5 million. The government-funded tourism agency spent another $42 million the following year demolishing the iconic resort complex through two implosions.

The expenditures were part of the LVCVA’s $935 million expansion of its Las Vegas Convention Center, which has since been completed. The Convention Center’s West Hall held its grand opening in June.   

The LVCVA acquired roughly 26 acres with its takeover of the Riviera. The Riv’s iconic façade was leveled, a paved parking lot taking its place. The site served as a holding area during construction of the West Hall.

After determining that selling 10 of the 26 acres would not adversely impact Convention Center traffic and operations, the LVCVA put the vacant lot on the market in February of 2019. The tourism agency contracted CBRE — a commercial real estate services firm — to market the listing. CBRE, through its Global Gaming Group, finally found a buyer in CB Investment SpA.

The transaction, however, comes with the stipulation that the new owner begin construction on a casino resort on the property by January 1, 2031. Fischer has agreed to the requirement.

Proceeds from the sale, LVCVA CEO Steve Hill explained, will be used to help finance the renovation of the Convention Center’s four older exhibit halls over the next 24 months.

North Strip Activity

Fetching $120 million for 10 acres of the former Riviera site further shows that there’s a sense of optimism on the northern end of the Strip.

Along with the June opening of West Hall, Resorts World Las Vegas opened that same month. The $4.3 billion integrated resort sits just south across the Strip from the Riviera land being sold.

The CB Investment SpA property is also adjacent to the unfinished towering blue casino resort tower formerly known as the Fontainebleau and The Drew. A group of investors led by Koch Industries’ real estate investment arm bought the 68-story structure for an undisclosed sum in early 2021. The incomplete hotel casino is for now being called JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd.