In Las Vegas and a consortium has reportedly purchased the long-stalled The Drew Las Vegas casino resort project in hopes of opening the 67-story venue as the new-look Fontainebleau Las Vegas by the end of 2023.
According to a Tuesday report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper, a range of local politicians and dignitaries gathered at a special ground-breaking ceremony yesterday to mark the official launch of work that will eventually see the 24.5-acre Las Vegas Strip site feature an around 3,700-room venue complete with over 500,000 sq ft of meeting and convention space as well as one of the city’s largest gaming floors.
Florida-based developer Jeffrey Soffer reportedly first floated the idea of bringing a large casino resort to the site of the former El Rancho Hotel and Casino in May of 2005 and wanted the envisioned venue, which was to be christened as the Fontainebleau Las Vegas, to serve as a sister property to his already popular Fontainebleau Miami Beach development. The man behind Miami-headquartered Fontainebleau Development then purportedly broke ground on the Nevada project in 2007 only to see the whole endeavor go bankrupt two years later owing to a collapse in the local real estate market.
The newspaper reported that billionaire American businessman Carl Icahn paid approximately $150 million in 2010 so as to buy the stalled enterprise before selling it off seven years later for $600 million to real estate magnate Steve Witkoff and the New Valley LLC subsidiary of cigarette giant The Vector Group. This latter pair purportedly later revived the casino resort project in hopes of being able to open their newly-rechristened The Drew Las Vegas development by the end of 2020.
However, the Las Vegas project was reportedly scuppered for a second time early last year as construction was indefinitely suspended as a direct result of the turmoil associated with the coronavirus pandemic. This purportedly prompted Soffer to re-enter the scene in February by partnering with Kansas-based conglomerate Koch Industries Incorporated so as to buy back the facility that was standing 75% complete.
Soffer reportedly told the Las Vegas Review-Journal…
“The opportunity was a great opportunity. This is a market that’s going to be here forever. It’s not going anywhere as people want to come to Las Vegas, they want to go to these hotels, they want to go to the conventions, they want to go gamble, they want to see the best shows in the world. It’s got all the pieces that you want when you own hotels.”
Soffer reportedly disclosed that he now intends to make several announcements over the course of the next 18 months regarding just what is to be included within the revived Fontainebleau Las Vegas, which is to sit across the street from the recently-opened Resorts World Las Vegas venue. The developer furthermore explained that his original vision for the project has changed over the course of the last 16 years and that he plans to scrub an adjacent shopping mall so as to create more space for other features that can better meet the demands of the modern customer.