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October 18, 2018

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Hooters casino in Las Vegas is snapped up for $53.8 million

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Hooters hotel-casino just off the Las Vegas Strip.

The Las Vegas resort famous for its wings, and other things, has been sold.

Hooters Casino Hotel, just east of the recently sold Tropicana, has been snapped up by the resort investment company Trinity Hotel Investments of New York. The $53.8 million sale was recorded May 1, a day after hotel employees were notified of the impending transaction.

Trinity senior principal George Ruff and chief investment officer Al Frazzini did not respond to requests for comment.

The seller, Canyon Capital Advisors, based in Los Angeles, did not return calls for comment.

The Hooters casino has been operated by Las Vegas’ Navegante Group, which also has served as operator of LVH and later Westgate Las Vegas (executives with Navegante Group also did not return a phone call).

The purchase marks Trinity’s first acquisition in Las Vegas, said CBRE Group broker Michael Parks, who worked with the seller. The sale closed shortly after M Resort operator Penn National Gaming announced plans on April 29 to buy the once-bankrupt Tropicana, a next-door neighbor of Hooters, for $360 million.

“When you’ve got two new owners in adjacent properties who I’m guessing are both going to put some money in ... and make some changes, that’s good for the neighborhood there,” Parks, a member of CBRE’s global gaming group, said.

New York-based Trinity says online that it has owned and invested in hotel properties in the United States, Europe and Asia, and that its top bosses have done more than $8.7 billion in deals.

Trinity, which is expected to change the Hooters name, has entered into partnerships with hotels operated by such resort companies as Crown Plaza, DoubleTree By Hilton and Holiday Inn. It is expected, though not yet verified, that the last company will take over the property — but not under the Holiday Inn brand.

Holiday Inn has a history of hotel-casino operations on the Strip in the form of the Boardwalk, the Coney Island-fashioned property that once stood on the grounds now occupied by CityCenter. That hotel closed Jan. 6, 2006, and was imploded the following May.

Hooters has had a spotty financial history over the past five years. In August 2011, the resort’s then-owners filed bankruptcy just a week before the property was scheduled to be auctioned off at a foreclosure sale. In court filings, the owners reported having $63 million in assets and roughly $178 million in liabilities.

Canyon Capital acquired most of the property’s debt for just 22 cents on the dollar, according to news reports. It won bankruptcy court approval in February 2012 to buy the resort.

Early indications are that the hotel will continue to serve as a fully functional hotel-casino, maintaining its gaming license, and still be home of the Hooters restaurant that is the most profitable in the company’s chain of eateries in the United States.

Taking up the site of the former San Remo Hotel, Hooters opened Feb. 2, 2006, throwing an orange-carpet gala starring Gene Simmons of KISS and former Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino.

Marino opened a steakhouse at the hotel, Dan Marino’s Fine Food & Spirits. The hotel has 696 rooms and 35,000 square feet of casino territory, and over the years its entertainment lineup has featured “Pitbull of Comedy” standup Bobby Slayton and the Prince tribute “Purple Reign.” More recently, the headliner has been Kevin Lepine and his “Hypnosis Unleashed” production.

There have been no changes in any of the hotel’s amenities yet announced.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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