Marriott exits Fontainebleau development in Las Vegas

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The original developer of the property, Jeffrey Soffer, reacquired the Fontainebleau tower on the north end of the Strip in February in partnership with Koch Industries.
The original developer of the property, Jeffrey Soffer, reacquired the Fontainebleau tower on the north end of the Strip in February in partnership with Koch Industries. Photo Credit: Paul Szydelko

Add another chapter to the ownership and management saga of the Fontainebleau property on the Las Vegas Strip. 

A new ownership team that purchased the property earlier this year has reached an agreement to end a previous deal with Marriott International that involved management of the resort and an ownership stake. 

Marriott said it "recently reached an amicable settlement with the hotel's owner that has resulted in Marriott exiting the project." 

Ground was broken on the Fontainebleau in 2007, and the property has gone through several owners and numerous stops and starts in the ensuing 14 years. 

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The original developer of the property, Jeffrey Soffer, and his Fountainbleau Development firm reacquired the tower on the north end of the Strip in February in partnership with the real estate investment arm of Kansas-based Koch Industries.

The owner prior to Soffer's return was developer Steve Witkoff, who entered into a deal in 2018 with Marriott International that included management duties and a $50 million investment in the project over time that would result in an ownership stake. In July, Marriott announced the 3,700-room resort would open in 2023 as a JW Marriott. 

Now, according to a statement, Fontainebleau Development will manage the property. 

"As Fontainebleau Development moves forward with the project in Las Vegas, we feel it is important to make clear that upon opening, the hotel will be managed and operated by Fontainebleau Development," the statement said.

"The agreement with Marriott International was made with the building's previous owner. We value our strong relationship with Marriott International, including several successful collaborations -- notably the JW Marriott Turnberry Isle Resort and Spa." 

Both sides declined to share additional details of Marriott's departure.

Now, Soffer takes the helm again for the project he initially announced in 2005, but then sold in 2010 to Carl Icahn for $150 million after the 2008 Great Recession and collapse of real estate prices. 

"Having come full circle and taken ownership of the site in Las Vegas, we intend to fulfill our original vision and deliver the same extraordinary hospitality experience that our guests have come to expect from Fontainebleau Development," a statement said. 

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