The Drew Las Vegas casino resort, formerly Fontainebleau, was originally planned to open doors on the northern end of the Strip in late 2020
Real estate developer Witkoff has pushed back the opening of the Drew Las Vegas casino resort by nearly a year and a half to the second quarter of 2022. The company also announced Tuesday that it has tapped Diller Scofidio + Renfro as the design architect for its ambitious plan to reimagine the unfinished Fontainebleau in the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip.
Witkoff bought the property in the summer of 2017 from activist investor Carl Icahn. Mr. Icahn himself acquired the former Fontainebleau out of bankruptcy for $150 million in 2010. The New York businessman, who has long been heavily criticized for his vulture capitalist tactics, trousered $600 million from the sale of the failed property to its current owner.
Construction work on the former Fontainebleau project kicked off in 2007. However, Las Vegas was mired in a recession of dramatic proportions the following year and developers were left with the difficult decision to abandon the ambitious $2.9 billion scheme.
Purchasing the never-finished casino resort, Witkoff presented an equally ambitious plan to lift Fontainebleau’s curse and turn it into a flagship property in the least developed portion of the Strip. While it had apparently been heavily neglected by developers in the past, the Strip’s northern end has seen quite some development activity in recent years.
Aside from the rekindled Fontainebleau/Drew Las Vegas ambition, construction work is in full throttle at the site of Resorts World Las Vegas, Genting Group’s multi-billion bid to enter the Las Vegas scene.
Diller Scofidio + Renfro to Mastermind the Property’s Design
Aside from the new opening date for its property, Witkoff also announced that it has trusted the Drew’s architecture to Diller Scofidio + Renfro. The New York design studio is behind the redevelopment of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the expansion of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Drew Las Vegas will be one of Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s first forays into the hospitality industry.
Commenting on the latest announcements related to the property, Witkoff CEO and Chairman Steven Witkoff said in a Tuesday press release that they are “thrilled to be working with such a prestigious and visionary firm.” The executive went on that Drew Las Vegas is poised to “usher in the next generation of Las Vegas resorts” and that the property
“will be unlike anything on the Strip today – a truly integrated resort that brings together a unique take on Las Vegas and curated set of experiences from around the world.”
When fully operational, Drew Las Vegas will feature nearly 3,800 rooms and suites. The property will debut Marriott International’s EDITION brand in Las Vegas and will house the first JW Marriott hotel on the Strip. Drew Las Vegas will also debut its own hotel brand – The Reserve by Drew.
In addition to its hotels, the resort will also include 550,000 square feet of convention and meeting space, retail, food and beverage, and entertainment facilities, and a gaming floor. The property was originally planned to open doors in late 2020.
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