Fontainebleau, now JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd., announces its opening

Posted on: July 21, 2021, 7:57 a.m.

Last update on: July 21, 2021, 7:58 a.m.

Former Fontainebleau Las Vegas and The Drew, now known as JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd., said the long-delayed Strip horror will open in fall 2023.

Fontainebleau Las Vegas Koch Marriott
The former Fontainebleau Las Vegas, now called JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd., is seen between Encore Las Vegas and The Strat observation tower. The blue structure plans to open to customers in the fourth quarter of 2023. (Image: Las Vegas Review)

The towering 67-story blue monster has been a stark reminder of the Great Recession for over a decade. But the current owners of the unfinished Las Vegas Strip casino complex say the property will be completed within the next two years and will welcome its first guests in October 2023.

Koch Real Estate Investments, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, acquired the vacant Strip complex in February for an undisclosed amount. Koch revealed during the purchase that he had partnered with Fontainebleau Development to bring the project to fruition.

Charles Koch is Chairman and CEO of privately held Koch Industries. The 85-year-old has an estimated net worth of $ 45 billion, making him the 27th richest person on the planet.

Koch Industries was founded by Charles’ father, Fred Koch, who developed a way to improve the method of refining heavy oil into gasoline in 1927.

Marriott Partnership

Koch Real Estate Investments and Fontainebleau Development did not immediately respond to media requests for comment regarding the planned opening of the property. Instead, the announcement came from Marriott International, which was hired by Koch and Fontainebleau to operate the resort.

Marriott International said the Casino Strip “will usher in a new generation of resorts in Las Vegas.”

We will offer over 3,700 guest rooms and suites as well as over 500,000 square feet of meeting and convention space. Our resort will launch Marriott International’s EDITION brand in Las Vegas and mark the first JW Marriott hotel on the Las Vegas Strip with multiple retail, spa, nightlife, pool, casino and dining experiences, ”said Marriott’s statement announcing the opening in 2023 said.

“THE EDITION will offer more than 900 rooms and suites located on the upper floors, with breathtaking views of the Las Vegas Strip and the surrounding valley. JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd is the only integrated complex connected to the new extension of the Las Vegas Convention Center via a pedestrian sky bridge, ”the statement added.

The third time is a charm?

With Fontainebleau Development involved in the completion of the ailing business Strip, the project came full circle, as Fontainebleau owner Jeffrey Soffer was the original visionary behind the blue structure.

Fontainebleau paid $ 97 million for 3.6 acres of land on the Strip in March 2005. The company announced plans to build a casino with 2,900 hotel rooms and 95,000 square feet of gaming space.

But as the Great Recession approached, the project went bankrupt after Bank of America stopped lending. Billionaire Carl Icahn bought the unfinished structure in 2009 for $ 150 million and never resumed construction.

New York real estate developer Steve Witkoff bought the property from Icahn in August 2017 for $ 600 million. Another crisis – COVID-19 – prevented Witkoff from completing the complex. Witkoff was to be named after his son Drew, who died in 2011 at the age of 22 from an OxyContin overdose.

JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd. will be the property’s third branding attempt to complete the structure. The recent opening of the $ 4.3 billion Resorts World Las Vegas just southwest of the Strip from JW Marriott Las Vegas Blvd. should generate some excitement at the north end of the Strip.

“We are thrilled to be part of the rejuvenation and resurgence of the north end of the Las Vegas Strip,” said Brett Mufson, President and Chief Investment Officer of Fontainebleau Development.

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