Long-vacant Vegas tower to open as resort-casino

The Journal Record
Long-vacant Vegas tower to open as resort-casino
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LAS VEGAS (AP) – A soaring blue-glass tower that has sat empty for close to two decades on the Las Vegas Strip – through the Great Recession and an unprecedented pandemic that shut down the famed tourist corridor for months – is set to open its doors to the public in December as the gambling center’s latest resort and casino.

Company executives for Fontainebleau Las Vegas made the announcement this week, more than a year after the company publicly set a goal to open before the end of 2023.

Chief Operating Officer Colleen Birch said in a statement that the long-awaited resort on the north end of the Strip represents “a rich heritage of luxury hospitality, chic elegance and unforgettable experiences.” The announcement marked the beginning of hiring efforts for a 3,700-room resort and casino that is expected to create thousands of jobs.

Named after Miami Beach’s 1950s-era Fontainebleau hotel, the luxury resort is one of the tallest buildings in Nevada.

Construction on the 67-story Fontainebleau Las Vegas began in 2007 amid the U.S. real estate bubble and was expected at the time to open in October 2009, but work stopped when it went bankrupt during the Great Recession. The project stalled for years.

In the decade that followed the original project’s collapse, ownership changed hands several times. In 2018, the resort even got a new name, Drew Las Vegas, after Steven Witkoff and Miami-based investment firm New Valley bought it for $600 million. But the rebranded project was short-lived: Construction was suspended in March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic triggered Nevada’s statewide shutdown.

A year later – and more than 15 years since the initial plans for Fontainebleau Las Vegas were unveiled – the project was reacquired by Jeffrey Soffer, one of the original developers. At the time, Soffer estimated the property was 75% complete and said it was in “mint condition.”

In a statement Tuesday, Soffer celebrated the blue tower as a symbol of resilience and determination.

“The arrival of Fontainebleau Las Vegas is a monumental achievement following years of anticipation and brings full circle our vision of hosting the iconic Fontainebleau brand on the Strip,” he said."