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LAS VEGAS-The Sahara Hotel and Casino, the site once immortalized by the Rat Pack and the setting of the original “Ocean’s Eleven” film starring Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, will have new owners. Los Angeles-based SBE Entertainment Group LLC and San Mateo, CA-based Stockbridge Real Estate Funds will acquire the property from Gordon Gaming Group for an undisclosed amount.

“The Sahara is one of the last remaining original properties on the Las Vegas Strip, and we are thrilled with the possibilities that it presents,” said SBE’s CEO, Sam Nazarian, in an official statement.

Developed in 1952, the Moroccan-style property is the northern most site on the Las Vegas Strip. The Sahara totals 1,720 rooms and has been managed by Gordon Gaming since it was acquired by William Bennett in 1995 for nearly $200 million. Estimates have Bennett having put another $100 million into the property since that time.

Once the deal closes, SBE will manage the hotel and its food and beverage operations through its subsidiaries–SBE Hotel Group and SBE Restaurant and Nightlife Groups, respectively. Larry Woolf’s Navegante Group will operate the casino business under a lease arrangement.

The new owners plan to reposition the property once it takes control. While specifics were not released on what would be done with the property, Nazarian said the owners would be updating it for “a new generation of travelers, while preserving its existing scale.”

As for the new investment, Terry Fancher, the managing partner of Stockbridge, said that as a private equity investor, his firm looks for certain factors before pulling the trigger on a deal and “The Sahara represents many of these characteristics.” He said that it’s a property with “a proud tradition” but also one that “will clearly benefit from a substantial capital investment.”

Fancher added that “the strong fundamentals of the Las Vegas hotel market should also help assure the success of this investment.”

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