The owner of the giant Mohegan Sun, the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, is interested in purchasing a Las Vegas casino property that fell into bankruptcy while under construction in 2009.
According to a report from Connecticut’s The Day newspaper, the Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas near the north end of the Las Vegas Strip is about 70% complete and was listed for sale in November with an asking price of $650 million.
“I can say that there are a number of opportunities that we are looking at, and that’s one of them,” Bobby Soper, Chief Executive Officer for the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, told The Day.
The Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas was originally envisioned as a 3,900-room resort casino complete with a convention center and numerous retail spaces but ran into difficulties less than two years after breaking ground. New York financier Carl Icahn paid approximately $150 million to bring the property out of bankruptcy in 2010 while any new owner would need to spend upwards of $1.5 billion to complete construction.
“Obviously, we would have to have partners to be involved in something of that magnitude,” Soper told the newspaper.
The firm handling the sale, CBRE Las Vegas, described the 68-story Fontainebleau Resort Las Vegas, which is due to be the Nevada city’s second tallest building, as “one of the most exciting development opportunities in Las Vegas in many years”.
“The structure has been well-maintained and is ready for immediate development to bring to fruition the vision of its next owner,” read a statement from John Knott, Executive Vice-President for CBRE Las Vegas. “This is an unparalleled asset with significant potential on one of the most landmark streets in the world. Opportunities like this are few and far between.”
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, which also owns the Mohegan Sun Pocono facility in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, additionally manages and holds an equity stake in the Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. December saw the Connecticut operator ink development and management contracts with the Cowlitz Tribe for the new $500 million Ilani Casino in southern Washington while it signed a similar deal in April with the Tunica-Biloxi Indian Tribe for Louisiana’s coming Paragon Casino Resort.
“In a lot of places, the casino industry has positively rebounded,” Soper told the newspaper. “Not exactly to 2008 levels, but it’s come back. Las Vegas is among those that have rebounded.”
The Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority moreover won a license earlier this year to develop a casino resort at Incheon International Airport near Seoul, South Korea, and is scheduled to open the first phase of the $1.6 billion project by 2020.
“We’re plugging away at putting a development team in place,” Soper told The Day. “So far, so good.”