The Drew’s original developer has bought it back

Stormy dusk sky behind the Stratosphere and Fontainebleau towers on the Las Vegas Strip
Stormy dusk sky behind the Stratosphere and Fontainebleau towers on the Las Vegas Strip

The Drew, that unfinished Las Vegas resort with more than it’s fair share of problems, has a familiar name coming to save it. Koch Industries and Jeffrey Soffer have acquired the property, looking to put it back on track after more than a decade of problems.

Soffer, CEO of Fountainbleau Development, was part of the group that started building the casino in the mid-2000s, then called the FountainBleu. It’s most recent developer, Steve Witkoff, renamed it The Drew in honor of his deceased son. The property has yet to open more than a decade since ground was first broken, and Witkoff leaves the property with stories of him failing to pay their contractors.

So Soffer is back. “Talk about a saga from conception to completion for this property,” Las Vegas real estate broker Michael Parks told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He expects Soffer will “meet his original vision” for the resort, and “finally get this open and complete it.”

Parks also speculated that Koch Industries sees there’s money to be made in Vegas. With the city still struggling to regain its footing from the Covid-19 pandemic, investors are finding bargains that could lead to future fortunes.

“We believe strongly in the Las Vegas market and see the property as a great opportunity to contribute to the long-term success and positive trajectory of this vibrant and innovative region,” Jake Francis, president of Koch Real Estate Investments, said in a news release.

While no plans were specifically announced for the property, Fontainebleau Development President Brett Mufson, said they are “currently evaluating all of our options and looking forward to being part of the advancement of the world-class Las Vegas entertainment industry.”

Can Soffer help turn around the property into what he first imagined it would be in the mid-2000’s? When he first sold-off the property, the 2008 recession had dashed any hopes of near-term success. Maybe he’s getting back behind the wheel just in time to see a recovery, or maybe it’ll be the same story once again.