Las Vegas Fontainbleau site's buyer says tax cut will speed up development


The new owner of Las Vegas' stalled Fontainebleau resort site at the north side of the Strip has started pursuing financing for completing the massive project and told Bloomberg News that the approval of the GOP-backed tax cuts will speed up the project's completion.

New York-based developer Steven Witkoff is trying to get financing for about 60% of the estimated $3 billion it will take to complete the 27-acre project, which will have as many as 4,000 rooms as well as a casino and restaurant, Bloomberg reported. Witkoff told Bloomberg that his efforts have been spurred by the tax-cut provision that will allow developers to fully expense capital investments immediately. A Witkoff representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel Weekly on Tuesday, and there was no information on either when the project would be completed or if it would keep the Fontainebleau name.

Witkoff, along with New Valley, acquired the site this summer from Carl Icahn for about $600 million, or about four times what Icahn paid for it in 2010. The proposed resort, which was to be developed as a sister property to the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, broke ground in 2007 but was halted two years later when the site fell into bankruptcy. The resort is said to be about 70% finished.

Either way, the Strip's northern end continues to draw investment activity, albeit in fits and starts. In 2013, Malaysian developer Genting acquired the halted Echelon site from Boyd Gaming for $350 million for a project called Resorts World Vegas, though that project continues to be delayed.

In 2014, the 1,613-room SLS Las Vegas opened at the old Sahara site, though challenges led majority owner Stockbridge to buy out the stake of minority owner SBE in 2015. The SLS's 289-room Lux Tower was rebranded as the W Las Vegas last year, though Stockbridge is working on selling the property to Reno-based casino owner Alex Meruelo.

And this year, Golden Entertainment completed its acquisition of the 2,427-room Stratosphere for $850 million.

Witkoff and New Valley built Ian Schrager's Public hotel in New York, which opened earlier this year. They also are developing the Times Square Edition and the West Hollywood Edition, which are both scheduled to open next year. The Edition brand is a collaboration between Marriott International and Schrager.


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