Riviera Holdings Corp. will invest $20 million to $30 million to refurbish the historic Strip hotel, a company executive told the Nevada Gaming Commission on Thursday.
Tullio Marchionne, secretary of Riviera Holdings, told the five-member commission he feels the Riviera's "low point" has "come and gone." He said reservations and group sales are up for 2012 and going into 2013.
"We have new management and owners. We are looking up," Marchionne said. "It's not to say it's still not a struggle living in our neighborhood."
Marchionne said the Riviera suffered from the mothballing of the Fontainebleau and Echelon, nearby multibillion dollar properties left incomplete, victims of the recession.
He said the decision to invest $300 million in remodeling the Sahara "is very promising for us," in attracting more visitors to the north Strip.
He said painting of the property's exterior is almost complete, as is the move of the hotel's front desk to an area near the convention center entrance. Marchionne said a greater emphasis is being placed on the convention center side of the property.
Marchionne described the 1980s as "more of the glory years of the Riviera." He said when he was hired in 1986, the Riviera was the 15th largest hotel-casino in the world. Today it's the 22nd or 23rd largest in Las Vegas.
Marchionne was before the commission for licensing as corporate secretary of Riviera Holdings, which was unanimously approved.
In other business, the commission unanimously approved gambling's return to the site of the legendary Moulin Rouge casino. United Coin Machine will operate a temporary casino in a tent on the property on Bonanza Road. State law requires that casino gambling must occur there for at least eight hours every two years for the owners to retain the right to someday operate a regular casino there.
Contact reporter Chris Sieroty at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-477-3893.