The ill-fated Fontainebleau casino project in Las Vegas will get a new shot at life in 2020 under new ownership and a new name.
Last August, billionaire investor Carl Icahn struck a $600m deal to sell the unfinished Fontainebleau casino hotel to a consortium including an affiliate of development and investment firm The Witkoff Group and New Valley LLC, the real estate arm of Florida’s Vector Group holding company.
On Monday, the Associated Press reported that the Fontainebleau’s new owners intend to rebrand the property as The Drew Las Vegas, with an eye towards welcoming its first guests by 2020. Hospitality giant Marriott International has been tapped to run the 63-story property’s hotel operations, which will include around 4k rooms and suites.
Witkoff Group CEO Steven Witkoff said The Drew would be “a design-forward building” and that the existing unfinished structure was “so well-conceived, even from nine years ago,” that the new owners could envision any number of design possibilities.
Part of this design process will include a ‘reimagining’ of the property’s 8.5-acre pool deck to differentiate its offering from the countless other booze-and-chlorine combos at other Vegas resorts.
The property also boasts 500k-square-feet of convention and meeting space, and Witkoff says The Drew will feature a bridge that connects the property to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
The Fontainebleau began life as the brainchild of James Packer, head of Australian casino operator Crown Resorts. Packer’s desire to establish a Vegas presence ran into trouble when credit markets dried up following the 2008 global economic meltdown. In 2010, Icahn paid $148m for the property, which was 70% complete when it was consigned to mothballs.