Los Angeles Times
Alex Meruelo Sees L.A. Latinos as Key Part of His Highest-profile Bet: a Las Vegas Casino
By James Rufus Koren



Three decades ago, a 23-year-old kid from Whittier, the son of Cuban immigrants, had an idea for a new kind of pizzeria — one that would serve predominantly Latino neighborhoods and offer then-uncommon toppings like chorizo and jalapeños.

He took over a failed pizza joint in Huntington Park, called it La Pizza Loca and, within five years, had more than two dozen locations and sales of nearly $10 million…

Alan X. Reay, president of hotel brokerage and advisory firm Atlas Hospitality, said it’s a near-certainty that Meruelo paid substantially less for the SLS than Nazarian and his primary investor, Stockbridge Capital, spent just on renovating the property.

“He’s obviously a very smart, savvy investor,” Reay said. “From a timing standpoint, he seems to have made a very good business of buying right. It doesn’t matter how strong the market is — if you don’t buy it right, not much else matters.”

Still, turning around the SLS will be a task…

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