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Houston billionaire closes $270M purchase on Strip

Updated June 16, 2022 - 4:16 pm

Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta has planted a flag on the Strip.

Fertitta completed his acquisition Wednesday of roughly 6.2 acres of real estate at the southeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon Avenue, according to property records and business-entity filings.

His purchase price, $270 million, amounts to more than $43 million per acre, records show.

A source with Fertitta’s company Fertitta Entertainment confirmed to the Review-Journal that the deal closed but did not say what they plan to do with the site.

Spectrum Group Management managing partner Jeff Schaffer, whose firm owned the property with other investors, said Fertitta went under contract to buy the site from his group about six months ago.

As Schaffer sees it, Fertitta picked up a “prime jewel” property — a corner plot with heavy traffic out front as well as megaresorts, condo towers and such retail as luxury mall Shops at Crystals nearby.

“We’re excited to see what he does with it,” Schaffer said Wednesday.

Fertitta owns the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, though his purchase on the Strip gives the 64-year-old restaurant and entertainment mogul a foothold in the heart of America’s casino capital.

It could also lead to a ground-up project by Fertitta on Las Vegas Boulevard, an ultra-competitive tourist corridor that regularly sees fresh development plans, albeit with a mixed record of projects actually getting built.

The Review-Journal reported in April that Fertitta was in the process of acquiring the property, which features a cluster of souvenir shops and other retail, a Tex-Mex restaurant and a now-closed motel property.

At the time, sources said he was buying the spread for more than $200 million and planned to build an upscale hotel.

Developer Brett Torino, who owns a three-story retail complex at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Harmon and is building a four-story retail project at the southwest corner, said in April that a luxury hotel by Fertitta would be “fantastic” for that stretch of the Strip.

“You have the opportunity to squeeze — I don’t know if this is his plan — a massive amount of construction and development on that site,” Torino said at the time.

Fertitta, the owner and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, controls a corporate empire that spans restaurants, hotels and professional sports, and boasts more than 50,000 employees.

His holdings include restaurant chains such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and Joe’s Crab Shack; Golden Nugget casinos in Nevada and other states; and the Houston Rockets basketball team.

Fertitta also was the star of the CNBC reality show “Billion Dollar Buyer” and the author of business book “Shut Up and Listen!,” which, as described on Amazon, offers “practical, hard-earned wisdom from one of the most successful business owners in the world.”

He is a cousin of brothers Frank Fertitta III and Lorenzo Fertitta, chairman and CEO and vice chairman, respectively, of Station Casinos parent Red Rock Resorts.

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

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