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Howard Stutz

Old Sahara to have L.A. feel; retail provider named for SLS Las Vegas

20 November 2012

LAS VEGAS -- The planned SLS Las Vegas is bringing a touch of the Los Angeles retail market to the reconfigured former Sahara.

SBE Entertainment Group, LLC will announce today a deal to give the Fred Segal chain an exclusive hold on the SLS retail business. Fred Segal will place seven different retail outlets throughout the property, which is being redesigned by architect Philippe Stark.

The Segal chain, which is owned by luxury retailer Sandow, will cover 10,000 square feet of SLS and include men's and women's apparel, swimwear, jewelry and other accessories.

Five of the stores are planned to open in conjunction with the property, which has a planned opening of sometime in 2014. Two other stores would open in 2015.

SBE and Stockbridge Capital announced in April they had secured $300 million in financing to transform the Sahara, which closed in May 2011, into the SLS Las Vegas.

SBE owns SLS-branded hotels in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Miami's South Beach area. The company plans to open an SLS hotel in New York before the Las Vegas opening.

Initially, work on the redevelopment was scheduled to begin at the end of summer. The SLS Las Vegas is expected to have 1,600 hotel rooms on the North end of the Strip.

SLS Las Vegas President Rob Oseland said much of the design work has been completed. Two large models of the possible floor plans are in the lobby area of the SLS offices, which occupy the former Fontainebleau Las Vegas office space.

Oseland, a former Wynn Resorts executive who joined SLS Las Vegas in April, said SBE plans to make an announcement on groundbreaking for redevelopment within a few weeks.

He said the Fred Segal stores will be dispersed throughout the redesigned SLS public space.

"These will be the first Fred Segal stores outside of Southern California and they complement our development plans," Oseland said. "This announcement adds some excitement as we get ready to announce the next moves for construction and opening."

SBE CEO Sam Nazarian said adding a well-known Los Angeles-area retailer to the redesigned hotel-casino gives the property more familiarity with the Southern California market. SBE plans to install several of its Los Angeles-area restaurants and nightlife outlets at SLS Las Vegas.

"As we move closer to our 2014 opening, we've added yet another iconic LA brand to the mix, giving us a powerful position in the market through an already established and extremely loyal clientele," Nazarian said in a statement.

Michele Caniato, president of Sandow subsidiary Culture + Commerce, a global design consultant who manages all licensing deals for Fred Segal, said patrons familiar with the outlets can expect the SLS Las Vegas locations to carry many of the same brands available in the Los Angeles stores.

SBE and Stockbridge bought the Sahara in 2007. When SBE closed the 59-year-old Sahara, the company said the resort was "no longer economically viable" to operate. All the Sahara's furnishings and memorabilia were sold in an estate sale.

In November 2011, Clark County commissioners approved a tentative plan for the Sahara remodeling that reduced the hotel's original size from 1,720 rooms to 1,600.

In May, Nazarian said the Sahara's three existing hotel towers would remain, but two will be stripped down, a low-rise hotel structure will be torn down, and the 2,500-space parking garage would remain in place.

SLS Las Vegas will be the largest SLS hotel in the company. Gensler Architects and Penta Building Group have been hired to oversee the renovation.