Viva UFC?

April 29, 2008

According to a sidebar in Forbes’ recent UFC cover story, the Fertittas are planning nine new editions to their Station Casino empire, including a massive project called Viva:

The biggest, at 110 acres, will accommodate a three-casino project called Viva, which is intended to incorporate hotels, condos and perhaps an arena. The parcel is just off the Vegas Strip behind MGM Mirage’s $8 billion CityCenter. Viva’s cost could reach $10 billion, which would make it the most expensive casino project ever, if you don’t adjust for inflation. (emphasis added)

The inclusion of an arena on the property would be an interesting development. A UFC owned arena project has been rumored dating back to the origination of the company’s $325 million loan. Such a project would seem to represent the perfect synergy between the Fertittas’ primary businesses. However, the site will be built over many years and the first phrase will reportedly include three casinos and hotels, but no arena.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Viva will be the company’s crowning achievement:

Originally conceived as a single casino hotel built on a few dozen acres, plans for Viva grew exponentially as Station quietly bought or obtained rights to develop the 110-acre site, currently home to squat, nondescript warehouses and retail stores.

“It started to build upon itself, like putting together pieces of a puzzle,” Lorenzo Fertitta said.

In its expanded form, Viva will establish the Fertittas as “Strip players” and cement their legacy as casino entrepreneurs beyond their success in the neighborhood casino business — a track record long admired by their counterparts on the Strip.

“In a lot of ways, it will change the face of the company,” Lorenzo Fertitta said.

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