Riviera Site Set to Be Another Strip Mall


The Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority (LVCVA) is selling a portion of the former Riviera site to a company that develops shopping malls.

Cue the sad trombone.

The LVCVA will spend $6.5 million to prep the 10-acre site for the $125 million sale to 65SLVB, the folks behind Harmon Corner and 63 at The Shops at Crystals.

No plans have been announced for the site, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what’s ahead. Specifically, shopping.

Riviera parking lot
You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. Yes, we made that up. The song was “till it’s gone.” Who made you like this?

The partners involved with 65SLVB, Brett Torino and Paul Kanavos, have until 2033 to develop the former Riv site.

We trust their purchase of this land was based upon whimsical predictions that the north end of The Strip is perking up due to the guaranteed success of Fontainebleau (opening Dec. 13, 2023) and spectacular success of Resorts World. Oh, and the fact the $4.7 billion All Net Resort & Arena is definitely, absolutely fully funded.

This concludes the portion of our story where the amount of sarcasm exceeds the daily allowances recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academies of Sciences Engineering.

Odds are good this site will be sold again before it’s ever developed. There’s virtually no foot traffic, which is going to be spectacularly challenging for Fontainebleau as it has been for Resorts World (struggling to break even).

Some pine for the Riviera, but the fact is it was old and sticky. When the Riviera was demolished in 2016, we were fairly obsessive about gathering and sharing visuals of the loss of a Las Vegas icon.

We spent months droning and droning on about the demolition. Here’s a look back at a time when we exerted much more effort on our blog, including spending much more time finding royalty-free music.

Yes, they paved paradise to put up a parking lot.

Well, sort of. The Riv wasn’t exactly paradise, and a portion of the site was used by the LVCVA for a convention center expansion. You know, conventions, the only thing more boring than shopping, except sports.

The 10 acres next to The Strip was originally going to be sold to a Bond villain. Sorry, a “Chilean businessman” by the name of Claudio Fischer, “owner of Sun Dreams, billed as the largest casino resort operator in Latin America.” Fischer earned his immense wealth from “salmon farming.” If you believe that, we have a bridge in front of New York-New York we’d like to sell you.

Anyway, the Claudio Fischer deal fell through. Nobody’s really sure why, but we’re sure it had nothing to do with the gaming licensing process.

The LVCVA found another buyer, and the site prep is actually being paid for by Fischer’s forfeited $7 million security deposit. Which is cool, because the LVCVA operates on room tax dollars. In other words, taxpayer money.

This whole saga is a little sad. The simple fact is even the worst casino (that wasn’t Riv, by the way, it’s Jerry’s Nugget) is better than the best shopping mall.

There’s no real evidence there’s going to be a boom on the north end of The Strip during our lifetime, so it’s likely this parking lot will remain a parking lot for the foreseeable future.


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