International edition
May 21, 2019

To the owner of a local construction firm

Failed Las Vegas Lucky Dragon sold for USD 36M

Failed Las Vegas Lucky Dragon sold for USD 36M
The Lucky Dragon opened in November 2016 with its hotel and casino in separate buildings.
United States | 04/23/2019

The shuttered off-Strip resort has been acquired by the owner of a construction-equipment firm, who plans to re-open it as a nongaming hotel, with the former casino building turned into a conference and convention space.

D

on Ahern, chairman, and chief executive of Las Vegas construction-equipment company Ahern Rentals, purchased the Lucky Dragon for $36 million, property records show.

The transaction took place almost half a year after lenders foreclosed on the property, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in an article published Monday.

The boutique resort closed less than two years after it opened — perhaps the fastest demise of a Las Vegas hotel-casino in decades — and drew tremendous interest from prospective buyers, but mostly from people who had no chance of closing a deal.

"It was very weird," listing broker Michael Parks, of CBRE Group, said of the response.

Ahern on Monday confirmed that he purchased the 2.5-acre Lucky Dragon, 300 W. Sahara Ave., and said he plans to re-open it as a nongaming hotel, with the former casino building turned into conference and convention space.

He did not provide a timeline for the overhaul but said he plans to change the property’s name. He does not have a new one in mind yet. "I absolutely will not keep the name," Ahern said of the Lucky Dragon.

Snow Covered Capital, which issued loans for the project, was owed almost $50 million by the time Lucky Dragon developer Andrew Fonfa pushed the resort into bankruptcy early last year.

Parks, however, confirmed the sale was below his client’s debt level.

The Review-Journal also received numerous calls from people saying they wanted to buy the hotel.

"We could write a book on some of the stories that we heard," Parks said.

Ahern was in the small percentage of people who were “financially capable” of buying, he noted.

Landa, a partner at Associate Capital, said the Lucky Dragon "is a terrific property with a bright future."

"We’re very glad it has a new owner with a long-term vision," Landa said.

The Lucky Dragon opened in November 2016 with its hotel and casino in separate buildings. But the resort, which struggled to draw big crowds, closed its casino and restaurants in January 2018, faced foreclosure soon after and filed for bankruptcy in February 2018.

Its swift demise was finalized in early October when the nine-story hotel tower closed and the property was sealed off with chain-link fencing.

Landa’s group foreclosed in late October.

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