February 12, 2021 Casino, Land-Based, Partnerships

Las Vegas Strip resort formerly known as Fontainebleau may finally see completion


Texas real estate developer buys property that has sat vacant since Great Recession.

A would-be Las Vegas resort has already had two names – but not a single guest – since construction was abandoned in 2009, but it may have found its champion.

Dallas-based Koch Real Estate Investments (KREI), an affiliate of Koch Industries, Inc., on Friday said it has acquired the property located at 2777 South Las Vegas Boulevard.

KREI said it has formed a partnership with Fontainebleau Development to complete a project that was supposed to open as Fontainebleau Las Vegas in 2009. The Great Recession of 2008-09 killed that idea, and the 75%-complete building has been an eyesore on the northern end of The Strip ever since.

In 2017, the project was purchased by the Witkoff Group, which said it would partner with Marriott to open the hotel in 2020. It was renamed The Drew after Steve Witkoff’s late son, Andrew, who passed away in 2011.

When the worldwide pandemic hit last year, the project again was abandoned.

Jake Francis, president of Koch Real Estate Investments, said KREI and Fontainebleau Development have a shared interest in the recovery and growth of Las Vegas and the hospitality industry as a whole. He noted Las Vegas has begun its recovery from COVID-related shutdowns, as it has safely reopened to millions of visitors since June.

“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,” Francis said in a statement. “We are excited about the partnership and look forward to working together as the project evolves.”

Koch companies have a presence in more than 70 countries and employ 122,000 people worldwide, about 62,000 of those in the US.

Fontainebleau Development, LLC has a portfolio that includes properties in the hospitality, gaming, residential, retail, commercial and luxury services sectors, including the Big Easy Casino, Fontainebleau Miami Beach, and JW Marriott Turnberry Resort & Spa. In its 50-year history, Fontainebleau has been involved in more than 100 projects representing in excess of $25 billion in total transaction value.

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