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Tilman Fertitta pulls demolition permits for Strip buildings

Updated October 26, 2022 - 7:21 pm

Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta seems to be moving quickly on his Strip resort project.

Clark County issued three demolition permits last week to let work crews tear down buildings on Fertitta’s property in Las Vegas’ famed resort corridor, records show. The permits were issued Oct. 19, the same day the County Commission approved his plans for a towering hotel-casino at the site.

The permits each list the same valuation, $437,589, and name the same contractor, Clauss Construction, which boasts a long history of large-scale demolition work.

Fertitta’s 6-acre spread, at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue, is home to the Tex Mex Tequila Bar &Grill building, a cluster of souvenir shops and a 1960s-era Travelodge motel property that had closed by July.

The buildings were still standing as of Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for Fertitta’s namesake company, Fertitta Entertainment, told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that the permits are for a partial demolition to allow certain site work.

“It’s all part of the ongoing process,” the spokesperson said, adding there is no groundbreaking date for the resort yet.

Last week, project representative Rebecca Miltenberger said the development would be a “high-end casino resort.” Fertitta’s 43-story, 2,420-room project calls for restaurants, convention space, a spa, wedding chapel, auto showroom and a roughly 2,500-seat theater, county documents show.

Miltenberger, an attorney with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, also provided a timeline for the undertaking.

“We are very excited to bring this project to fruition over the next two years,” she told the County Commission.

Clauss, meanwhile, has demolished “every imaginable structure for many different federal and private agencies,” according to its website, which says the firm has torn down 1,000-plus facilities totaling more than 5.75 million square feet.

The company did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Fertitta, 65, oversees a corporate empire that spans dozens of restaurant brands, Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada and other states, the Houston Rockets, and the upscale Post Oak Hotel in Houston.

The 250-room Post Oak boasts a helicopter pad on top of the building, a 20,000-square-foot spa, a steakhouse and other restaurants, meeting space and an adjacent auto dealership with Bentley and Rolls-Royce vehicles.

Fertitta purchased his Las Vegas Boulevard project site in June for $270 million.

David Katz, casino analyst at financial services firm Jefferies, told the Review-Journal earlier this month that it’s a “big-ticket purchase” to enter the Strip, adding it would cost around $3 billion to build a competitive resort from the ground up.

He noted that casino chains such as MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment Inc. have used their presence in markets around the U.S. to drive traffic to Las Vegas, and Fertitta “understands those kinds of strategies.”

Katz also pointed to other activity on the Strip including the long-awaited completion of the 67-story Fontainebleau Las Vegas, Hard Rock International’s pending acquisition of The Mirage’s operations for more than $1 billion, and next year’s Formula One race, set to bring high-speed drivers zooming down the Strip before potentially enormous crowds.

“I’m not surprised there’s very high interest on the Strip right now,” Katz said.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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