Chilean businessman Claudio Fischer has worn a lot of hats over the years. However, Las Vegas Strip magnate will not be among them, at least not immediately.
Fischer is an important figure in the Latin American casino and hospitality space as the owner of the Sun Dreams chain. His professional history includes such diverse endeavors as owning a large-scale salmon farm and later an airline and having worked as a pilot himself.
For several years, Fischer has had his eye on expanding his empire into North America. And what better place to start than the iconic Las Vegas Strip?
Those plans have already been on-and-off once. Now they’re on hold yet again. According to the Spanish-language gambling media outlet SBCNoticias, Fischer has cited federal interest rate hikes as the reason.
COVID-19 and Its Economic Aftermath
Fischer’s attempts to make his US dreams a reality began in early 2020. He struck a deal with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to purchase ten acres of land at the corner of Las Vegas and Elvis Presley Boulevards.
The LVCVA acquired 25 acres in 2015 to expand the Convention Center before deciding that it only needed 15. Fischer agreed to pay $120 million for the excess land and began planning his resort.
At that time, epidemiologists were already sounding the alarm about what was then known as “the novel coronavirus.” Most of us, however, were still oblivious to how dramatic the disease’s impacts would be and just making jokes on social media about switching our Corona for Dos Equis.
Fischer, too, was caught by surprise and the deal failed to close as Sin City shut down for over two months.
However, the two parties returned to the table later in the year and got the ball rolling again.
The pandemic is also indirectly responsible for this second derailment of the plans. It began a chain reaction, with strict lockdowns in China and elsewhere creating supply chain issues that contributed to an economic crisis, which has ultimately led policymakers to increase interest rates in an attempt to rein in inflation.
Those interest rates have made funding large projects like Fischer’s proposed resort more expensive. Enough so that he was willing to forfeit a $7 million non-refundable deposit to walk away from the deal.
Other Strip Projects
Although Fischer’s deal may have fallen through, he hasn’t abandoned his plans entirely. Once economic conditions change, he may still consider building a Las Vegas resort, whether at the same location or a different one.
In the meantime, plenty of other activity is taking place on the Las Vegas Strip.
The Fontainebleau Las Vegas has been under construction at 2777 South Las Vegas Blvd. for years. Despite several hiccups of its own along the way, its opening is on track for the final quarter of 2023 now that the company has secured funding for the final phase of construction.
Also scheduled to open in the second half of the year is the MSG Sphere entertainment venue. That represents a significant upgrade for The Venetian and will feature the world’s largest LED screen. The project began as a collaboration between Madison Square Garden Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands, though the latter’s stake transferred to Vici Properties when the latter bought the Venetian in 2020.
The Mirage is also getting a makeover, having been acquired by Hard Rock International. The renovations will include the removal of the property’s iconic “volcano” and the construction of a guitar-shaped hotel in its place.