Tue, Apr 23, 1:51pm by Staff Writer
The owner of the Drew Hotel Casino has announced that the opening of the former Fontainebleau on the north end of the Strip has been postponed by 18 months.
Star Advertiser is reporting that the delay in opening the 67-storey, 3800-room tower that was mothballed in 2009 is being blamed on the amount of time that was spent on design work for the reopening.
Originally scheduled for a late 2020 debut, the grand opening has been moved back to the second quarter of 2022.
It’s the third major project to be pushed back from a 2020 date, joining the MSG Sphere and the conversion of the Hard Rock to Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
Real estate developer Steven Witkoff originally hoped to have the casino open much sooner than its current anticipated opening.
Witkoff and Miami-based investment firm New Valley LLC bought the unfinished building from billionaire Carl Icahn in August 2017 for $600 million.
Icahn acquired the property – then known as the Fontainebleau – in bankruptcy in 2010 for around $150 million.
Witkoff’s privately held real estate firm is headquartered in New York City, but this week he spoke with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to express his bullishness on the Sin City hospitality and gaming market.
“This was a chance to buy something and build at a huge discount to what it cost to build new,” Witkoff explained of the investment.
The Witkoff Group says its total cost to bring The Drew to life is expected to be around $3.1 billion.
In a statement, he added, “we are incredibly excited about being part of the Las Vegas landscape. Robust demand drivers continue to create an imbalance of hotel inventory supply and demand.”
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“The Drew is poised to not only capitalise on this imbalance, but also offer visitors a new marquee luxury resort with a distinctive, compelling concept. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our team and our partners,” Witkoff concluded.
Billions of dollars are being invested in Las Vegas. The two most notable projects are the $1.8 billion Raiders NFL football stadium under construction just west of I-15 between hacienda Avenue and Russell Road, and the $935 million expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Centre.
For The Drew, which is situated in an area north of Wynn’s two casinos that’s struggled to attract pedestrian traffic, the convention expansion is critical to moving people to that end of the Strip.
The casino will be roughly 2,000 feet from the exhibition complex.
Resorts World is also making progress on the $4 billion integrated resort, which is just slightly south across the Strip from The Drew.
That too will help keep the region busier than in recent years where nearby properties such as SLS struggled, and the Lucky Dragon shuttered.
The Drew is named after Witkoff’s son, who died of an oxycontin overdose in 201. He was 22 years old.
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